Tobacco Town Minnesota

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.

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