Minimum Age To Purchase Tobacco In Beltrami County Could Go Up To 21
The new year could bring some new changes to an old Beltrami County ordinance. Tobacco 21 is a proposed ordinance that would require anyone purchasing tobacco products be 21 years of age or older.
Last week, proponents spoke in favor of the measure and shared statistics that shows a 25 percent reduction in smoking among 15- to 17-year-olds. Around the state, 21 communities have already passed similar ordinances, with two of those being counties. Beltrami County hopes that this is the start of a movement.
“Just like the Clean Indoor Air Act, Beltrami County was the first one to pass the smoke-free workplace initiative, and after Beltrami County passed it, it really became a movement, and so it isn’t like it was our idea, but we like being on the leading edge of what are probably movements,” said Beltrami County Administrator Kay Mack.
The proposed ordinance has already undergone some changes. One section related to tobacco possession has been eliminated because the focus is intended to be on the buying and selling of all tobacco products and vaping devices.
“Current ordinance has a penalty provision for people under the age of 18 to possess tobacco. We’re not putting a possession restriction in or a penalty for possession; really, the county’s goal isn’t to penalize people, it’s to promote good health,” added Mack.
The Beltrami County Board of Commissioners will hold its second public hearing on the proposed ordinance on January 22.