Wilkin County Sixth Minnesota County To Pass Tobacco 21

Wilkin County Sixth Minnesota County To Pass Tobacco 21 Click to Enlarge

(Wilkin County, MN) -- Wilkin County is the sixth Minnesota county to pass an ordinance raising the age for purchasing tobacco products to 21-years-old. Commissioners unanimously approved Tobacco 21 Tuesday. The ordinance goes into effect September 1st.

The initiative was brought forward by Wilkin County Public Health, the county’s We Care Coalition and Partnership 4 Health.Jason McCoy, tobacco prevention coordinator with Partnership 4 Health, said the primary location that will see the biggest benefit of T21 is in the county’s schools.

“Current Breckenridge High students were polled regarding the ease of access to tobacco. ‘It would take me five minutes or less to have a JUUL or other vape, I would just ask a senior,’ was their response,” he said. “This backs national data which indicates that the pathway of tobacco in our schools lies with 18-year olds. Coupled with the vape epidemic sweeping our nation, requests to purchase tobacco have become one of the greatest forms of peer pressure our seniors face. Tobacco 21 relieves this pressure.”

The ordinance

Wilkin County’s Tobacco 21 ordinance provides enforcement on selling tobacco to an individual under 21 and not on the use of tobacco by anyone 18-20.

“This important distinction is based in compassion,” McCoy explained.

The ordinance will cover all areas of Wilkin County and all incorporated areas that do no license and regulate the retail sale of tobacco, tobacco-related devices, electronic delivery devices, and nicotine or lobelia delivery products.

“Ninety-five percent of all tobacco users begin before the age of 21. Vaping in our schools has created an epidemic where one in four students is using some form of tobacco. We are seeking to stem the flow of tobacco into the hands of youth while providing cessation help to these students along with anyone 18 years old or older. We will be providing signage and training for our retailers to ensure that everyone is ready for our ordinance to implement on Sept 1, 2019.”

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