St Paul Considering Ban on Menthol Tobacco Products

The below letter was sent to the St. Paul City Council after it was learned that the city, like Minneapolis last month, was considering allowing menthol tobacco products to be sold only in tobacco stores. This would mean package liquor stores would no longer be able to sell those products. MLBA lobbied Minneapolis to allow liquor stores to continue to sell menthol products because our package stores do a better job of carding and preventing youth access than any other retail outlet. The Minneapolis council agreed and added liquor stores to tobacco stores that could sell menthol. On Wednesday after a long a emotional debate, the St. Paul City Council agreed to delay the decision for a month to study the issue more. Click here to read the article from the PioneerPress.


St. Paul City Council Members,

I wanted to thank you all for the opportunity to speak to you last Wednesday the 20th in regards to the Menthol Ban. It was a late night for all and I wanted to express my gratitude.  

As I stated during my brief time last week, the off premise industry vets their customers more than any other retail business that I am aware of, even more than the proposed tobacco shops. St. Paul’s liquor stores sell this legal product now and do so with great care and responsibility. We do not allow customers in our establishments without being over the age of 21. If they are, a parent or legal guardian MUST accompany them. We even turn away business to our customers if they are exhibiting signs of obvious intoxication or impairment.

Our liquor stores are responsible folks and I assure you, I will do my best to remind them of the importance of preventing youth access. 

On behalf of the off premise industry in St. Paul, I am asking for you all to consider, allowing the off premise liquor stores to be included in the continued sale of Menthol Tobacco products.  I will be asking some of our retailers to be present on the 27th to present their cases and to ensure you that due to our responsible business models, we are also perfect candidates to sell this product that should never be in the hands of minors.

Have a great day and if you have any questions, please reach out to me, as I will with you. I look forward to the council meeting on Wednesday the 27th.  We appreciate you.


Tony Chesak
MLBA Executive Director