Brooklyn Center Raises the Minimum Age to Buy Tobacco
Brooklyn Center’s city council voted Tuesday night to up the minimum age for buying tobacco products. A newly revised ordinance raises the age from 18 to 21.
The ordinance will also limit the maximum number of tobacco sales licenses to 15. The city currently has more sellers than that, and sellers already licensed will be able to keep their licenses. But no new licenses will be issued until the total drops below 15.
The tobacco ordinance requires city-run training sessions for anyone selling tobacco, and increases fines for selling to underage people.
This comes as nicotine products which attract kids, such as flavored e-cigarettes, are under scrutiny from all levels of government. E-cigarette maker Juul recently pledged to remove flavored vape products like fruit and cucumber from retail shelves. It’s a move the company says is an effort to limit their buyers only to people over age 21.
City council member Kris Lawrence-Anderson says the city’s doing the right thing.
“I’m old enough to remember bringing a note to the convenience store for my mother to buy her cigarettes,” says Lawrence-Anderson. “I’m old enough to remember buying a pack of cigarettes from a vending machine for 75 cents. My mother has undergone triple bypass, lung cancer, and she’s still smoking, so this is really personal for me and I’m really proud of what we have done.”
Council member Dan Ryan also spoke in favor of the ordinance, noting that his father was a smoker and died of emphysema.
The council unanimously passed the ordinance. It takes effect December 21.