Split down the aisle: Second Tobacco 21 hearing brings out support on both sides

The Otter Tail County commissioners held a second public hearing on Monday night to hear public opinions about the Tobacco 21 ordinance they are considering implementing county wide to restrict access to tobacco and nicotine products to those under the age of 21.

Otter Tail County Public Health Director Diane Thorson gave a short presentation on why the ordinance was proposed and some of the data surrounding the issue presented to the county.

“What you can see is some of the cigarette use is going down but e-cigarette use, beginning in 2014, when they started capturing data on that, began to rise significantly,” Thorson said.

Approximately 60 people showed up to the public meeting and approximately 25 spoke, taking up the whole hour and a half period of time allocated to public comment. There were several comments both supporting the ordinance and not supporting the ordinance.

“Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Minnesota and many of the diverse populations we serve are disproportionately affected by tobacco,” Otter Tail Family Service Collaborative Coordinator, Troy Haugen said. “I am particularly alarmed because we are seeing an uptick in tobacco usage in classrooms and schools.”

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August 29, 2018