Edina first city in Minnesota to raise sale age for tobacco to 21

Edina first city in Minnesota to raise sale age for tobacco to 21

Edina, Minn. – The Edina City Council showed strong leadership in protecting the health and well-being of its youth on May 2. The City Council voted unanimously to raise the sale age for all tobacco products to 21. “For me, it’s a fairly straightforward situation,” Mayor James Hovland said. “The long-term benefits to public health far outweigh the commercial aspects of this. This fits in the realm of what we can do and where we can make a difference. Hopefully, it will percolate up to the state.” Edina is the first city in Minnesota to raise the age to 21. It joins two states – Hawaii and California – and more than 220 municipalities in protecting youth by raising the sale age for tobacco to 21. More than 95 percent of current smokers started smoking before they turned 21. If youth don’t start smoking before the age of 21, they likely never will. Ages 18-21 are a critical time when young people move from intermittent smoking to daily use. Four out of five experimental smokers become daily smokers by age 21. Needham, Mass., raised the tobacco age to 21 in 2005 and within five years, tobacco use among high school students decreased by nearly half. Edina first considered raising the age to 21 after a presentation last fall from Community Health Commissioner, Dr. Caleb Schultz. Councilmembers heard from many members of the community during the public hearing, including Dr. Schultz, who has spearheaded the policy effort. “(Tonight) Edina demonstrated how much we value our children’s health by being the first city in Minnesota to enact a Tobacco 21 ordinance,”...
Minneapolis Parks go 100% tobacco-free

Minneapolis Parks go 100% tobacco-free

The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB) showed strong leadership in protecting the health and well-being of residents and visitors to Minneapolis parks on March 8. The Board voted unanimously to make all Minneapolis parks tobacco-free, with an exemption for use of tobacco with traditional Native American spiritual or cultural ceremonies. “We are excited to join with dozens of other local park systems in becoming completely tobacco-free, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Superintendent Jayne Miller said. “This policy supports our mission to promote healthy lifestyles and environments for residents and park visitors across Minneapolis and will contribute to many park patrons’ use and enjoyment of our system. I also want to thank Commissioner Steffanie Musich for taking a lead role in developing this important policy. The Board’s current Smoking/Tobacco Use Policy, which was approved in 2009, does not address the use of chewing tobacco or electronic cigarettes. The new tobacco policy expands to cover both of those uses and also honors traditional Native American spiritual or cultural ceremonies. A July 2016 survey of Minneapolis residents conducted by Morris Leatherman for the Minneapolis Healthier Parks Initiative found that 60 percent of respondents supported Minneapolis parks being 100 percent tobacco-free at all times. On Wednesday, a diverse group of Minneapolis residents, including LaTrisha Vetaw of NorthPoint Health & Wellness and Breathe Free North and Emily Anderson from the Association for Nonsmokers-Minnesota (ANSR), spoke out in support of the policy. Vetaw said the policy was the result of hardworking, dedicated young people who wanted to see it happen. “The Minneapolis Park Board stepped up to the plate and did a great thing...
Day at the Capitol 2016

Day at the Capitol 2016

Many advocates joined ANSR at the State Capitol in Saint Paul on May 3, 2016, for the Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation “Tobacco is Still a Problem” Day. These advocates learned about top tobacco-control issues, and then met with their respective legislators to educate them on these issues. Here are some of the photos from the day. <►>Seventeen youth from Tartan High's Students Against Destructive Decisions group and John Glenn Middle School's Support Our School group attended the Capitol and participated in discussions with their...
Saint Paul votes to restrict sale of flavored tobacco, raise price of cigars

Saint Paul votes to restrict sale of flavored tobacco, raise price of cigars

  The Saint Paul City Council showed strong leadership in protecting the health and well-being of its residents on Jan. 6. The City Council voted unanimously to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products to adult-only tobacco stores and increase the minimum price for single cigars to $2.60 each. All cigars sold in packages of four or less must be priced at $2.60 each, while cigars packaged at four or more must be at least $10.40. “It’s a big deal that we’re going to make it harder for youth to access these products,” council president Russ Stark said. Saint Paul joins Minneapolis in restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products. Other places to restrict flavored tobacco sales include Providence, R.I., and New York City. Saint Paul was one of the first cities in the state to set a minimum price for cigars, but the ordinance will raise the price to $2.60 to match surrounding cities. “I think this is a good ordinance that sends a strong message to the tobacco industry,” said Councilmember Dai Thao, one of five co-sponsors of the ordinance. “We can’t trade the health of future generations for the tobacco industry’s profit.” The room turned green as Councilmember Amy Brendmoen, who first introduced the ordinance, had supporters of the ordinance stand up. Most of the advocates sported a green shirt that said, “The tobacco industry targets youth with flavored tobacco … but there’s nothing sweet about tobacco.” The tobacco industry has a long history of targeting young people with cheap and flavored tobacco. Alicia Leizinger, from the Ramsey Tobacco Coalition, said she is thrilled Saint Paul...
Richfield sets minimum price for cigars

Richfield sets minimum price for cigars

  Richfield joined a growing list of Minnesota cities that have established a minimum price for flavored cigars. The Richfield City Council voted unanimously on Nov. 10, 2015, to set a minimum price of $2.60 per stick for non-premium cigars and set a minimum of $10.40 for packs of four or more. “I’m very pleased to see this moving forward,” Mayor Debbie Goettel said during the council meeting. “It’s in the best interest of Richfield’s youth and health.” The new ordinance brings Richfield’s tobacco licensing ordinance up to state minimums and puts into place pioneering policies that will protect youth from the harms of tobacco. This policy adds Richfield to a growing list of cities that have set minimum prices for the sale of non-premium cigars including: Brooklyn Center, Saint Paul, Bloomington, Maplewood and Minneapolis. Councilmember Michael Howard said. “I think this is the ordinance that really sort of gets at access for kids.” Additionally, the updated ordinance prohibits the use of electronic cigarettes in city-owned parks and other recreational facilities; prohibits the sale of any electronic cigarette liquid that is not in child-resistant packaging and prohibits indoor smoking and sampling of tobacco products and electronic cigarettes, except in establishments that are already licensed by the City. “This new ordinance will help protect Richfield youth from becoming lifelong tobacco users,” said Kari Oldfield, Legal and Community Outreach Coordinator for ANSR. “We are proud of the Richfield Advisory Board of Health and City Council for taking on this important issue and protecting the health of the residents and visitors of the city.” This new ordinance goes into effect on Dec. 19,...
Ramsey County regulates e-cigarettes, adds public entrances setback

Ramsey County regulates e-cigarettes, adds public entrances setback

  The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners continued its strong leadership regarding the health and safety of its residents when it voted 6-1 on Sept. 22, to include electronic cigarettes in its clean indoor air policy and prohibit use of e-cigarettes and cigarettes within 25 feet of building entrances. By including e-cigarettes in the clean indoor air policy, county leaders have established use of e-cigarettes will not be allowed anywhere conventional cigarettes are not allowed, such as work places, bars and restaurants. In 2005, Ramsey County showed leadership in passing one of the state’s first smoking bans for bars and restaurants. Two years later, the Minnesota legislature enacted the statewide Freedom to Breathe law, protecting all Minnesotans from the harms of secondhand smoke. “Ramsey County has taken a stand to ensure our residents, workers and visitors aren’t needlessly exposed to tobacco and e-cigarette use when they are in indoor public spaces, or simply entering and leaving buildings,” said Jim McDonough, Chair of the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners. “Hopefully, the state will follow suit and recognize the need to protect all Minnesotans from the harms of secondhand smoke and e-cigarette emissions.” In addition to McDonough, Commissioner Blake Huffman, Commissioner Mary Jo McGuire and Commissioner Rafael Ortega spoke up in support of the ordinance. Commissioner Huffman lauded the “wonderfully diverse” community advocates who spoke at the public hearing on Sept. 8, while Commissioner McGuire concurred. Commissioner Ortega addressed the adverse health impact of electronic cigarettes, which emit an aerosol laced with nicotine, harmful chemicals and metal particles. “The bottom line is if there is any uncertainty about the impact it...
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