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City expands definition of tobacco

A tobacco license in the city of Alexandria costs $35 per year.

Alexandria's rules against tobacco products are changing.

The Alexandria City Council approved preliminary amendments to its ordinance for tobacco licensing and regulations at its last meeting.

The changes include a much broader definition of tobacco products to reflect a new generation of products that have entered the market, such as sticks, orbs, strips and snus.

In addition to listing traditional uses of tobacco, such as cigarettes, cigars or snuff, Alexandria's new definition includes "any products containing, made or derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption, whether chewed, smoked, absorbed, dissolved, inhaled, snorted, sniffed, or ingested by any other means or any components, part or accessory of a tobacco product."

The expanded definition makes the ordinance compliant with new state regulations enacted by the Legislature, according to City Administrator Jim Taddei.

City ordinances also require all tobacco products and tobacco-related devices to be sold behind the counter so they are not accessible to youth.

Electronic cigarettes, known as e-cigarettes, are not included in the new rules because they don't contain tobacco.

Tobacco products that are designed to help people quit smoking are also excluded as long as they've been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

As in the past, the city may deny or revoke a tobacco license for a variety of reasons:

•The business sells tobacco, tobacco products or tobacco-related devices to anyone under the age of 18.

•The business sells or offers to sell tobacco in open displays or through a self-service method where the customer doesn't need to make a verbal or written request for the product. (This doesn't apply to retail establishments that derive at least 90 percent of their revenue from tobacco and tobacco products if the retailer ensures that no one younger than 18 is permitted to enter the store.)

•The person requesting the license (the applicant) is younger than 18.

•The applicant has been convicted within the past five years of any violation of a federal, state or local law related to tobacco, tobacco products or tobacco-related devices.

•The applicant fails to provide any information that's required on the application or provides false or misleading information.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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