Detroit Lakes City Council Votes on Raising Purchasing Age on Tobacco

No seat was empty during the three hour meeting

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — The meeting was standing room only.

The Detroit Lakes City Council voted on raising the purchasing age people can buy tobacco.

Karen Crabtree was one person in support of the ordinance raising the age from 18 to 21, and she addressed the council.

“We’re not here to argue about whether vaping is healthy or not,” Crabtree said. “We’re really here to say ‘if you don’t start, you don’t need to quit.”

Others argue that the ordinance would harm current smokers who are trying to quit.

“We are hurting people that already do smoke,” said Jenny Hoban, vice president of Tobacco Harm Reduction 4 Life. “Mainly people who switched from smoking to vaping in order to reduce the harm caused by tobacco.”

Hoban says when people switch to vaping, it reduces the amount of chemicals they take into their lungs.

“It is going to help someone who is smoking to obtain nicotine through a clean delivery system,” Hoban said. “It’s going to get rid of the tar, carcinogens and other chemicals associated with smoking.”

With less chemicals going into their bodies each time, Hoban says vaping can help people take less doses, and eventually stop altogether.
She says this law could force people to go back to smoking.

“Certainly far safer than smoking. So we need to keep that into consideration and not be sending adults back to smoking by preventing access to vapor products,” Hoban said.

James Robideaux owns a vaping store and worries about his customers.

“My customers now have stopped smoking but are not quite ready to sever that bond, would not be able to use vapor products in town anymore but could just drive two minutes in either direction and still get cigarettes,” Robideaux said.

It’s a decision that at this moment has been snuffed out. The Detroit Lakes mayor says that after a three hour meeting, the city council met privately to make their decision.

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