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.

  • Featured Resources

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      A Pack of Cigarettes

      Insights from Tobacco Town Minnesota

      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.

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      Tobacco Town MN Dashboard

      Tobacco Town Minnesota Dashboard

      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. 

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      Graph from Tobacco Town Executive Summary

      Tobacco Town Minnesota: Executive Summary

      Overview of Tobacco Town Minnesota project using computer simulations to test tobacco retail policy combinations for different communities and populations.

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      Clearway Tobacco Town Menthol Restrictions

      Tobacco Town Minnesota: Impact of Menthol Cigarette Restrictions

      Tobacco Town Minnesota findings on the likely impact of limiting where menthol cigarettes are sold in Minnesota.

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      Gas Station Tobacco Display in Minneapolis

      Tobacco Town Minnesota: Impact of Limiting Where Cigarettes are Sold

      Tobacco Town Minnesota findings on how limiting where cigarettes are sold has great potential to reduce tobacco use in Minnesota.

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      Menthol Sold Here Sign

      Male student Tobacco Town Minnesota: Reducing Disparities and Increasing Equity

      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.

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      Mint Leaf

      Tobacco Town Minnesota: Modeling Menthol and Retailer Density Policies in Minnesota Communities

      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.

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      Convenience Store Counter

      Minnesota County Retail Tobacco Licensing Ordinance

      Sample tobacco retail licensing ordinance drafted in the form prescribed by Minnesota law and containing a number of provisions a county might consider adopting.

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      Convenience Store Counter

      Minnesota City Retail Tobacco Licensing Ordinance

      Sample tobacco retail licensing ordinance drafted in the form prescribed by Minnesota law for statutory cities.

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