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Proposed legislation would ban flavored tobacco products in Minnesota

Menthol-flavored cigarettes have been used for decades to hook Black Americans,

American Indians, LGBTQIA2S+, and other marginalized communities and youth,

causing a lifetime of costly addiction, disease and related issues.

Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death among Black Americans,

claiming 45,000 Black lives every year. And more than 70% of youth e-cigarette users in

Minnesota show signs of nicotine dependence.

Combating future addiction, especially among youth, requires eliminating availability of

flavored products like candy and fruit-flavored vapes, hookah and tobacco products.

There is proposed legislation sitting at the Capitol right now that, if passed, would end

the sale of all flavored commercial tobacco products in Minnesota. Led by

Representative Ethan Cha (HF2177) and Senator Bobby Joe Champion (SF2123), the

proposed bill would ban all flavored tobacco, including menthol and hookah.

Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation and its coalition of over 60 organizations,

including North Point Health and Wellness, is urging residents, especially parents, to

raise their voices with legislators to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products.

“Coalition members share a common goal of striving towards a smoke free generation,

where every person is free from commercial tobacco harm and we can all reach our full

health potential,” Sena Geleto, a youth advocate for MN Smoke Free Generation,

Community Outreach Coordinator at North Point Health and Wellness, and University of

Minnesota student.

The Health and Finance Policy Committee held a hearing on the legislation on March 5

that was referred to the Commerce Finance and Policy Committee, which held a

hearing on March 25. The bill was laid over and is currently sitting in commerce. The

Senate has not held any hearings on the legislation yet this session.

Changing and saving lives in the community where she grew up drew Sena to her job.

“We focus a lot on community education, tobacco work and trying to get this bill passed

in Minnesota, with a specific focus on health equity and marginalized communities,” said


“When you look at these big tobacco companies, they’re targeting our youth, people of

color and LGBTQIA2S+ community, so this health policy work is really important for a lot

of different populations, especially when working toward health equity throughout the

state of Minnesota,” she said.

Sixty-two percent of Minnesotans support ending the sale of all flavored tobacco.

Smoking costs our state $4.7 billion in excess health care costs and $4.7 billion in lost

productivity annually.

Minnesotans can take action to help pass the bill. Geleto believes the first step is

education and learning what these products are, learning how addictive nicotine is, and

learning how it can harm the parts of the developing brain.

The second step, she urges, is calling your representatives, senators and city council

members to let them know you are in support of this bill to end the sale of all flavored

tobacco products.

Her mission, alongside Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation, is to help

Minnesotans healthy lives, save our state millions of dollars, help thousands of people

quit smoking and prevent future nicotine addiction.

For more information on the proposed legislation to end the sale of flavored commercial

tobacco products in Minnesota, visit


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