Minnesota Receives Failing Grade in Ending the Sale of All Flavored Commercial Tobacco Products

American Lung Association report reveals best and worst states for tobacco control policies, outlines steps to reduce burden of tobacco in Minnesota

Minnesota received a failing grade in ending the sale of all flavored commercial tobacco products yet earned mostly passing grades in other categories in this year’s American Lung Association 21st annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, released today.

The “State of Tobacco Control” report evaluates state and federal policies on actions taken to eliminate tobacco use and recommends proven-effective tobacco control laws and policies to save lives. This is critical, as tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in America and takes the lives of almost 6,000 Minnesota residents each year.

“Minnesota continues to have better grades than most states on policies to prevent and reduce tobacco use,” said Pat McKone, advocacy director for the American Lung Association in Minnesota. “This is important progress, however, there are still too many Minnesota residents who are impacted by tobacco use, like the 13.4% of adults who smoke and the 28% of high school students who use tobacco.”

Minnesota Grades
The “State of Tobacco Control” report grades states and the District of Columbia in five areas that have been proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use and save lives. In the 2023 report, Minnesota received the following grades:

  • Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade F
  • Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade A
  • Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade B
  • Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade A
  • Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – Grade F

This year’s report noted the need for Minnesota policymakers to focus on ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. According to the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey, more than 2.5 million high school and middle school students use e-cigarettes, and more 85% of those kids use flavored e-cigarettes. In addition, menthol cigarettes continue to be the major cause of tobacco-related death and disease in Black communities, with over 80% of Black Americans who smoke using them. Ending the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol, will not only help end youth vaping, but will also help address the disproportionate impact of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars have on many communities, including Black Americans, LGBTQ+ Americans and youth. 

Federal Grades Overview
The report also grades the federal government on their efforts to eliminate tobacco use. This year, there were new steps taken by the government to prevent and reduce tobacco use, including proposed rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, Congress passing a law requiring the FDA to regulate tobacco products made with synthetic nicotine, and increased federal enforcement of the Tobacco Control Act. As a result of these steps forward, the federal government’s grade for “Federal Regulation of Tobacco Products” improved from a “D” grade last year, to a “C” grade in the 2023 report.

The 2023 “State of Tobacco Control” report grades the federal government in five areas:

  • Federal Government Regulation of Tobacco Products – Grade C
  • Federal Coverage of Quit Smoking Treatments – Grade D
  • Level of Federal Tobacco Taxes – Grade F
  • Federal Mass Media Campaigns to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use – Grade A
  • Federal Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 – Incomplete

FDA is overdue in publishing the final Tobacco 21 regulations as required by statute, which is why it earns an “incomplete.” 

To learn more about this year’s “State of Tobacco Control” grades and take action, visit Lung.org/sotc.

Media Resources:

American Lung Association logos are available here: Media | American Lung Association
For more information, contact:

James A. Martinez
(312) 445-2501
[email protected]

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