Tobacco retail policies differ in the way they impact tobacco use or cessation among different populations in different locations. Tobacco Town Minnesota is a model that uses empirical data to predict how policies that restrict menthol tobacco products and reduce tobacco retailer density could affect the costs to tobacco users -- and thus the impact on tobacco use -- in six typical Minnesota communities. Policymakers, tobacco control programs, and stakeholders can use our model to gauge how specific policies might impact their communities. The project is a collaboration between researchers at the Brookings Institution, the Public Health Law Center, and Washington University’s Center for Public Health Systems Science. The Tobacco Town Minnesota materials on this web page were prepared as part of a Public Health Law Center research grant (RC-2014-0017), funded by ClearWay Minnesota RC-2016-0005.
Our research team used demographic, economic, and tobacco use data from six different Minnesota communities to create prototype towns and then conducted computer simulations to test the likely impact of menthol tobacco restrictions and retailer density reductions in each community. We focus on likely policy outcomes that include changes in:
- The average total cost, which includes price paid + the costs of time & distance traveled to purchase (opportunity costs)
- Retailer density (stores per square mile)
Select Minnesota Tobacco Retail Policies
Minnesota communities are working to restrict the sale of flavored and menthol tobacco products, and to reduce tobacco retailer density overall. Our Tobacco Town Minnesota model estimates that these retail policies have the potential to reduce product availability, increasing the time and distance traveled to buy tobacco products and thus increasing the costs associated with these purchases.
Click on a dot on the map to find details about recent tobacco Minnesota policies related to flavor restrictions and retailer density. The pop-ups include links to the actual policy language, which can help localities in Minnesota and elsewhere develop their own policies.
Journal article on our ClearWay Minnesota research modelling the impact of menthol sales restrictions and retailer density reduction policies. Todd Combs et al., Tobacco Control doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2019-054986.
A web page that showcases and explains the research behind the Tobacco Town Minnesota model, and features several resources summarizing the impact of our findings.
Overview of Tobacco Town Minnesota project using computer simulations to test tobacco retail policy combinations for different communities and populations.
Tobacco Town Minnesota findings on the likely impact of limiting where menthol cigarettes are sold in Minnesota.
Tobacco Town Minnesota findings on how limiting where cigarettes are sold has great potential to reduce tobacco use in Minnesota.
Tobacco Town Minnesota findings on how limiting where menthol cigarettes are sold and reducing the number of tobacco retailers has great potential to reduce health disparities in Minnesota.
Tobacco Town Minnesota: Modeling Menthol and Retailer Density Policies in Minnesota Communities (2018)
Webinar overview of research project using computer simulations to examine the impact of tobacco retail restrictions in six different Minnesota urban, suburban, and rural environments.
This publication outlines policy and legal considerations for regulating both tobacco and electronic cigarette retailer locations to improve public health.
An updated guide to policy considerations in regulating menthol tobacco products at state and local levels.
Examples from select U.S. jurisdictions that restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products, including excerpts from legislation and information on legal challenges.
Sample tobacco retail licensing ordinance drafted in the form prescribed by Minnesota law and containing a number of provisions a county might consider adopting.
Sample tobacco retail licensing ordinance drafted in the form prescribed by Minnesota law for statutory cities.
Policy options for restricting tobacco sales in pharmacies and related legal implications and possible challenges to such policies.