MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) —  Tobacco retailers continue to target kids and low-income neighborhoods in Minneapolis and other major cities. That’s according to a new study by the Advancing Science and Practice in the Retail Environment (ASPiRE) Center.

The study, which was conducted by researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Washington University in St. Louis, found that more than half of public schools in Minneapolis are within 1,000 feet of a tobacco retailer.

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Furthermore, in Minneapolis, the number of tobacco retailers per square mile is 7.2 times higher in the lowest-income neighborhoods than in the highest-income neighborhoods.

“Every Minnesotan should be able to live their life free from addiction – but Big Tobacco continues to relentlessly target kids and low-income residents,” said LaTrisha Vetaw, director of health policy and advocacy for NorthPoint Health and Wellness, and co-chair of the Menthol Coalition. “This retailer study is just one more reason why Minnesota communities should end the sale of flavored tobacco products, without exceptions. We cannot stand by while certain neighborhoods are flooded with highly appealing and addictive tobacco products.”

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The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute. Researches found that in Minneapolis, there are 32 times more tobacco retailers than McDonald’s and 14 times more tobacco retailers than Starbucks stores.

According to Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation, more than a quarter of 11th graders reported currently using tobacco products in 2019. The organization is a coalition of more than 60 groups that share a common goal of reducing youth tobacco use and ending commercial tobacco’s harm for good.

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To view the full study click here.