It is important to understand the tobacco retail environment, or point-of-sale, as this is where tobacco enters communities, but not where it stays. The visibility and accessibility of tobacco products in retailers increases tobacco use initiation, makes it harder for smokers to quit, and keeps people addicted.
In March 2019, Hennepin County Public Health (HCPH), one of MDH’s SHIP grantees, conducted store assessments at the city of Golden Valley’s 14 licensed tobacco retailers. The Store Audit Center was used to collect this assessment data and the data from these assessments was also shown in the Store Mapper. This showcasing of the data helped explain the tobacco landscape in Golden Valley.
The findings from these assessments are addressed in a report that HCPH created titled, “City of Golden Valley Tobacco Retail Environment”, using the “4 P’s of marketing” in the retail environment – place, product, price, and promotion. HCPH also created another report titled, “Impact of Tobacco in Golden Valley.” This report addressed the 2019 Minnesota Student Survey data for school districts that Golden Valley students attend, provided demographics (e.g., income, race) as related to tobacco use, and discussed the impact of tobacco use on chronic conditions such as obesity and heart disease. Additionally, mapping data was used to show the density and location of tobacco retailers, as well as the proximity of these retailers to each other and venues such as schools.
In July 2019, the city of Golden Valley began community outreach, asking residents to provide input on regulation of tobacco sales through an online survey. In August 2019, the city hosted an interactive public forum on the regulation of tobacco sales. They invited Ruth Tripp and Gretchen Garman from HCPH along with the Association of Non-Smokers (ANSR) MN to share tobacco research, data and information related to the tobacco prevention policies under consideration by the city. Golden Valley gathered input and feedback from community members and businesses who attended. In order to expand their reach, the city also live streamed elements of this forum and continued to promote the online survey to the community to gain input.
At the forum, and during subsequent communications and presentations, HCPH distributed and presented on the reports they created, the “City of Golden Valley Tobacco Retail Environment” and “Impact of Tobacco in Golden Valley.” They also shared information on effective practices in reducing exposure and access to tobacco products and marketing.
Furthermore, the Public Health Law Center (PHLC), a legal technical assistance provider for local grantees, provided their expert review of Golden Valley’s proposed policies. In addition, the Golden Valley city attorney attended a workshop provided by the PHLC on effective tobacco control practices and how to develop a model ordinance.