Golden Valley Moves Toward Raising Tobacco Sales Age to 21
The Golden Valley City Council approved the first reading of a proposed ordinance that makes sweeping changes to tobacco regulation in their city. The measure includes raising the minimum age to buy tobacco to 21. If approved upon a second reading, it would go into effect January 1, 2020.
Golden Valley Raising the Minimum Age to Buy Tobacco “Sends a Message”
A survey released this week shows teen vaping is on the rise in Minnesota.
Governor Tim Walz responded by calling on the legislature to ban flavored-tobacco products and raise the minimum age to buy tobacco to 21.
On that same day, the Golden Valley city council passed the first reading of a new tobacco ordinance. The measure passed in a 5-0 vote.
Council members mentioned they hope these changes send a message to state lawmakers.
“Hopefully our senators and representatives will be listening to [Governor Walz] and taking our example and moving forward,” said Larry Fonnest, city council member. “This is not a trend. I believe it’s the future.”
The city actually tossed out their old ordinance in favor of a new one.
Many residents and agencies spoke in favor of the change. Most cited the danger of tobacco and giving statistics of underage tobacco use.
“Golden Valley is sending a message that youth are a priority,” said Megan Beck, resident.
Business Owners Express Concern over Changes
But some small business owners expressed concern that the changes are too restrictive.
“People are creatures of convenience and habit. If we make it so they can’t get this, they will drive to get it,” said Gretchen Weinke, from the Liquor Barrel. “They will be spending money in other cities. If they drive to St. Louis Park to get menthol cigarettes, why would they drive back to Golden Valley to get a bottle of wine at my store?”
Several council members mentioned that the business owners in Golden Valley who have licenses have been compliant.
“I too struggle with we have very compliant businesses with deep roots, but there’s a public health crisis,” said Gillian Rosenquist, council member. “Just this afternoon, Governor Walz urged the legislature to take many actions that the city council is looking at tonight.”
The council did approve the changes, but they will have to vote again to give the measure final approval.
To watch the meeting, click here.