ST. CLOUD - Supporters of a push to raise the tobacco buying age from 18 to 21 are excited about the upcoming debate in St. Cloud. Jodi Gertken is the Director of Wellness for the CentraCare Health Foundation. She says it aligns with their mission to improve the health of Central Minnesotans.

However, she admits she is a bit surprised the city council has decided to take up the issue so soon.

I'm very surprised, but probably more excited.  I think it's a great opportunity for central Minnesotans to rise up.  A lot of times the Twin Cities go before us, but there's no reason why we can't lead on this issue.

Gertken says her office will be reaching out to the five other St. Cloud metro area cities in the next month to see where they're at on the issue as well.

She says they're taking the same approach as they did with the Freedom to Breath Act, which eliminated smoking in the workplace.

In a similar approach there were major municipalities that passed at the local level in Minnesota prior to it going to the legislature.  And that's typically what happens in issues like this.

So far Edina is the only other Minnesota city to raise the tobacco buying age to 21.

St. Cloud's Mayor Dave Kleis does not support it.

Monday the city council voted to hold a work study session on the issue on October 26th, and they set the public hearing for November 6th.