ST. CLOUD - St. Cloud could be the next city to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21.  During Monday night's meeting the city council will set a public hearing for October 9th to discuss the issue.

Earlier this month the council asked city administrators to prepare an ordinance amendment.

St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis says he doesn't support the measure for a variety of reasons.  Kleis says it would only prevent people ages 18 to 21 from buying tobacco not using it.  He also thinks it's a state issue, not a city one.

Currently, state law prohibits the sale of tobacco and tobacco related products to anyone under the age of 18.

In May Edina adopted an ordinance restricting the sale of tobacco and tobacco related products to people under the age of 21.

In late August Dr. Julie Anderson and representatives from the CentraCare Health Foundation organization, Crave the Change, gave a presentation outlining their recommendation that the joint area cities of St. Cloud, St. Augusta, St. Joseph, Sauk Rapids, Waite Park and Sartell each adopt an ordinance prohibiting the sale of tobacco and tobacco related products to persons under the age of 21.

Jodi Gertken is the Wellness Director at CentraCare Health Foundation.

Increasing the tobacco age to 21 will prevent 30,000 Minnesota kids from becoming smokers over the next 15 years. The question shouldn't be why are our city leaders considering this policy, it should be why wouldn't they? They have the opportunity to protect our kids and save lives. This should be an easy decision given the amount of evidence and support behind raising the age of purchase to 21. I applaud those courageous enough to proactively put the health of our youth first.

A Republican lawmaker introduced a bill during the last session to raise the state's law to a minimum of 21 years old, but that failed to get a floor vote.

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