Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Dan Reed
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Carlton County considers new tobacco purchase restrictions

 


“Youth smoking has seen its first increase in 17 years of record keeping,” related Pat McKone, representing the American Lung Association of Duluth, at the Carlton County Committee of the Whole meeting on May 1. “Teachers say the increase is more prevalent in the seventh, eight and ninth grades.”

The main cause, she reported, is the use of e-cigarettes. The non-traditional tobacco product Juul has taken over 54 percent of the market and the demand for it has risen 50 percent in the last three years. Contrary to popular belief and product marketing claims, e-cigarettes are not proven to be an aid for quitting smoking or a safe product to use.

One out of five students in high school use tobacco products. Ninety-five percent of regular adult smokers started using before the age of 21.

McKone said the American Lung Association believes there would be a 25 percent reduction in first-time smokers if children and young adults could not legally purchase tobacco products until the age of 21.

Commissioner Gary Peterson asked, “What is the first step that we can take on this issue? I believe we need to have public input after providing information through the media. I believe this is important and we as commissioners should carry the public dialogue on this issue as we attend public gatherings throughout the county.”

McKone responded, “We have clean air in our public places because of a decision in Moose Lake, Minnesota to take action. We see no leadership on the federal level on many of these issues. Local people must find solutions to many of these local problems like e-cigarettes and show the way for state and federal action down the road. The Carlton County area led the way on clean air — why not be the first to take action on e-cigarettes and no tobacco purchases until 21?”

The Carlton County Committee of the Whole unanimously asked the County Board to work toward regulation of the sale of e-cigarettes and moving the age for tobacco purchase to 21.

In February 2000, due to tireless efforts of Moose Lake resident Romelle Jones, the Moose Lake City Council made the decision to ban smoking in restaurants. The smoking ban took effect in August that year, and soon after the city of Duluth and Carlton County followed suit.

Minnesota passed the Freedom to Breathe on October 3, 2007, which banned smoking in bars as well as restaurants. This act expanded upon the existing Clean Indoor Act of 1975.

 

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