Joel Stegner, Community volunteer almost 2 years ago

Boston and other cities and towns in Massachusetts, New York City and the state of Hawaii (reported in today's Star Tribune - http://www.startribune.com/boston-hikes-age-for-buying-cigarettes-to-21/362864891/) have approved a new approach to discourage youth smoking, by moving the age from 18-21. While only the state can enact a ban on consumption, we can get the ball rolling by passing an ordinance that bans sales of tobacco products to those under the age of 21. Tobacco use has no beneficial effects and and tobacco is a gateway to use of illegal drugs and binge drinking, with their additional health and legal consequences. By making this change, it suggests that alcohol and tobacco are adult products which young people should not be experimenting wth and getting addicted to. Someday, if and when recreational marijuana is legalized, then there will be no question that the age limit should also be age 21. Obviously, those businesses what make significant income by selling tobacco products to those between 18-20 may not like this idea, but the city could respond by creating a lower license fee for stores that voluntarily don't sell to those under the age of 21, until the time when it is passed into city ordinance. As we are part of a health alliance with Richfield and Bloomington, perhaps their city council could be encouraged to take a similar action. If three cities neighboring cities were to do so, it would encourage others to do the same. This kind of proactive policy is exactly what forward thinking cities do.

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