Council Delays Tobacco Ordinance, Mayor Weighs In

Council Delays Tobacco Ordinance, Mayor Weighs In Click to Enlarge Photo: Associated Press

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - The St. Cloud City Council pushed back a public hearing and voting on whether to change the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Originally the council was going to set a public hearing on the tobacco ordinance for October 9, but council members wanted more time to discuss it at their October 16 study session.

"We've had people requesting that they be able to submit other ordinances, and we want to take some time and look, do our due diligence so that we get it right," Council President Carol Lewis said.

Mayor Dave Kleis tells KNSI News he disagrees with possibly changing the legal age to buy tobacco products to 21.

Kleis says the 26th Amendment in the U.S. Constitution sets the legal age to vote at 18, which defines the age of maturity.

"If you're old enough to make the determination of who is going to lead this country and who is going to lead your state and local community, you're clearly old enough to make that decision."

He adds that while he isn't a big fan of smoking, it comes down to a city possibly going against the constitution.

"I just strongly oppose from a principle aspect, not from the issue of tobacco, I think this is separate from the actual issue of what they're talking about, this is a whole different set of principles."

Edina and St. Louis Park are the only two cities in Minnesota that have changed the legal age to buy tobacco products to 21.

After the council discusses the ordinance at their October study session, the public hearing is scheduled for the November 6 council meeting, before they would vote on it.