Could Brooklyn Park be next to tackle T21?
City Council members discussed ways to prevent youth from using tobacco at a recent meeting.
The topic came up as part of a youth tobacco prevention presentation by Cities United and the Brooklyns Youth Council. They recommended city council take steps to prevent students from smoking or vaping through a variety of measures. The measures included raising the minimum age to buy tobacco, reducing the density of tobacco retailers, and increasing compliance checks. The group also invited Hennepin County to share information on youth smoking and vaping.
As part of the discussion, a gas station owner came forward to share his concerns about raising the age to buy tobacco and how that would influence his business in a negative way.
Council discusses pros, cons
The city council praised the students’ work and civic concern. They also expressed doubts later in the meeting about raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco. Some questioned the fairness of 18-year-olds signing up for military service, only to have 18-year-olds banned from buying tobacco. Others questioned if raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco is an effective prevention measure.
“The best prevention is always education,” said Mayor Jeff Lunde. “If we want people to stop smoking, the best thing to do is educate them.”
Council member Susan Pha said the issue should be discussed further.
“I’m open to the idea that staff has to work with the community and youth and come back with some real steps in which we could take,” said Pha. “Options that would limit and reduce the amount of youth that uses tobacco products.”
The council directed staff to gather data and meet with business owners and youth groups.