Tobacco 21 Hearing Set For Monday

Tobacco 21 Hearing Set For Monday Click to Enlarge Photo: KNSI News

(KNSI) - A public hearing on whether St. Cloud should should raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 is set for Monday night's city council meeting.

Jodi Gertken, of CentraCare Health's Crave the Change initiative, is hoping St. Cloud leads the way on the issue of youth smoking in Central Minnesota.

"We have spoken with mayors and council members in other communities, and there is a lot of support for it, so we hope that St. Cloud is bold enough to do this on Monday and then we would start working with the other communities."

She says 18-year-old's who buy cigarettes will share them with their peer group of other teens, but that not many 21-year-olds are hanging out with teens, eliminating the opportunity for sharing.

Gertken, on with KNSI's Ox in the Afternoon, says it would be great if the age to buy tobacco products was raised to 21 statewide.

"If the state of Minnesota were to do it, over five years, we would be saving 30,000 new kids from starting tobacco."

Edina and St. Louis Park have raised the age to buy tobacco products to 21.

Gertken says Bloomington is having a hearing on the issue on Monday, and Robbinsdale and Mankato are also considering raising the age.

"We know this will have a great impact on health, and that's why we should be leading the way."