More than a year ago, the community of Robbinsdale wasn’t quite ready to enact Tobacco 21, but its leaders made a commitment to take another look at it. On March 19, the City Council upheld that commitment and passed Tobacco 21 with a 4-1 vote.
“At that time, we weren’t ready to move on T21, but seeing all the other communities around us do it gave us momentum again,” council member Dan Rogan said. “It will really protect our young Robbinsdalians. We hope this is one more city that will help push the state to T21.”
Additionally, Robbinsdale voted to restrict the sale of electronic cigarettes to adult-only tobacco. Robbinsdale is the 26th community in Minnesota to raise the tobacco sales age to 21. Edina, Saint Louis Park, Bloomington, Plymouth, North Mankato, Falcon Heights, Shoreview, Minneapolis, Saint Peter, Richfield, Roseville, Minnetonka, Excelsior, Lauderdale, Hermantown, Brooklyn Center, Mendota Heights, Otter Tail, Pope and Beltrami Counties, Eden Prairie, Waseca, Duluth and Bemidji have taken this step.
Robbinsdale resident and physician Dr. Emily Bannister previously testified in favor of all the proposed changes to the tobacco ordinance.
Bannister said, “The policies you are considering are far more effective at reducing the harms of than anything we can do from within our clinic walls. 18-to-21 year-olds only make up 2 percent of tobacco sales, but are one of the primary suppliers of tobacco to underage youth. Raising the tobacco sales age to 21 and restrict
e-cigarettes to adult-only tobacco stores will help eliminate the pipeline of tobacco into our high schools.”
Youth e-cigarette use has increased nearly 50 percent in the past three years, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Nearly one in five Minnesota High School students currently uses e-cigarettes, according to the 2017 Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey.
“Robbinsdale should be commended for taking these life-saving measures,” Emily Anderson, Program Director at the Association for Nonsmokers-Minnesota, said. “The city has shown its commitment to the health of its residents over the past year by taking on bold public health policy initiatives aimed at helping young people never to start the deadly habit of tobacco use in the first place.”