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Proposed change to Minneapolis' tobacco ordinance has community split

Minneapolis pauses plans to raise price of tobacco products
Minneapolis pauses plans to raise price of tobacco products 01:21

MINNEAPOLIS — A plan to increase the price of a pack of smokes has been put on hold, but the debate in the Minneapolis City Council is still smoldering.

A proposed change to Minneapolis' tobacco ordinance has business owners fired up. 

"They haven't included the business community in any decision-making process," Lonnie McQuirter said.

McQuirter owns 36 Lyn Refuel Station in south Minneapolis. He's concerned about sales getting snubbed out. 

"It gives consumers more reasons not to stop in Minneapolis and stop at outlying suburbs," McQuirter said.

The change would create a minimum price of $15 for certain tobacco products, like cigarettes, ban coupons, stop samples that allow smoking inside and increase penalties for stores.

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Health leaders believe increasing the cost will decrease the use.

"These minimum laws can benefit communities when we consider long-term cost," public health specialist Evalyn Carbrey said.

But community members are split on the changes

"The average Jack and Jill can't afford the increase," one person at Tuesday's meeting said.

The council wants the chance to add amendments before a final vote. 

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