Minneapolis: More study on tobacconists’ rule

How much of a cigar should a connoisseur be able to test in a tobacco shop?

That question hung in the air Monday, one of the issues discussed as a proposal to curb tobacco sampling in Minneapolis got a hearing at City Hall. In the end, a City Council committee postponed action so the plan could get some fine-tuning.

The 2007 state law that outlawed smoking in virtually all indoor public places and workplaces contained an exemption for tobacconists. It allows customers to light up to sample products in shops that get 90 percent or more of their revenue from tobacco products or smoking-related items.

City staffers have found that that’s been pushed far beyond the intended meaning, with the establishment of hookah lounges, employees taking smoke breaks inside, and entire cigars or cigarettes being sampled, said City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden.

But a staff proposal to prohibit sampling drew some articulate pushback Monday.

Thomas Harlan, proprietor for 25 years of an Uptown tobacco shop, waxed about family memories of cigars and tobacco while pressing the matter as one of civil liberties. Then he cited economics, arguing that the ability to sample before purchasing is one advantage he offers over dealers selling online.

Harlan presented Glidden’s committee with a petition that he said bore the signatures of 800-plus customers, more than 300 of them from outside the city. Shane Wendt of Arden Hills was one. He said his cigar-smoking friends from across the metro area gather at Harlan’s Golden Leaf shop to sample and buy before heading out to Uptown restaurants, importing their purchasing power to help the city.

source: Star Tribune

Similar Posts:

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!