Community - Tobacco

Tobacco-Free Living Mission

The intent of this strategy is to improve the tobacco retail environment by reducing the community’s exposure to tobacco products and marketing. This can be accomplished through local ordinance changes. SHIP staff will pursue and implement evidence-based approaches that will lead to decreased youth access and exposure to tobacco marketing practices.


The goals of this strategy are to:

  • Decrease tobacco exposure and use
  • Improve enforcement and compliance with youth access and retail regulatory laws
  • Increase community awareness of tobacco industry practices
  • Reduce tobacco-related disparities


SHIP staff have been educating community stakeholders to inform and educate the public and decision makers about the public health concerns related to the tobacco retail environment. While a local (city or county) retail license is required to sell tobacco products and related devices (including electronic cigarettes) in Minnesota, some local licensing regulations have fallen out of compliance with state and federal laws and need updating. Tobacco retail licensing ordinances (as well as retail licensing fees) drive mandatory compliance monitoring programs, establish strong penalty structures, and will often include additional, more comprehensive tobacco control regulations beyond the minimums specifically required in state law (Chapter 461 of the Minnesota Statutes).

Updates & Improvements

SHIP staff have started conversations with cities in Benton County about updating and strengthening local licensing, compliance, and enforcement laws and practices to ensure that they meet state requirements, provide clear and comprehensive definitions, and include robust and self-sustaining compliance programs.

Examples include:

  • Authorizing the license to be suspended or revoked for violations.
  • Ensuring that all retailers (including e-cigarette-only vendors) obtain a license and renew it annually.
  • Establishing a penalty structure that helps ensure compliance with the licensing requirements, reduces repeat offenses, and funds additional inspections and related enforcement activities.
  • Imposing a license fee that is sufficient to cover all the costs associated with administration, implementation, and enforcement of the licensing regulations.
  • Providing that violation of any federal, state, or local tobacco control law is also a violation of the terms of the license.