Tobacco buying age raise ordinance in Detroit Lakes dead for now

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. (Valley News Live) - For the foreseeable future, the proposed ordinance that would have raised the tobacco buying age from 18 to 21 in Detroit Lakes is dead. That's according to City Administrator Kelcey Klemm who said the council voted not to do a first reading on the ordinance and didn't plan any future action.

At the Tuesday night meeting, dozens of people packed the city hall, waiting for their turn to speak for or against the ordinance. Those against it really harped on the fact e-cigarettes and the products used with them were included in the proposed ordinance.

A big take away from the meeting was the fact both sides said they wanted to reduce the amount of young people smoking tobacco. However, they disagreed on how that should be done and what should be included in the ordinance.

"If I was not allowed to buy a vapor product before the age of 21, I'd still be a smoker," Alex Stokes, an opponent of the ordinance, said. "When I turned 18, I got my first vaporizer and quit smoking as a result."

"I'm a daughter of a woman who started smoking at 14. As a result of her smoking, her oldest child has had more than ten major surgeries related to things directly caused by smoking," Terry Kalil, a proponent for the ordinance, said.

"When I was 14 because of everything I was involved in, I was around 18-year-olds quite often. I can tell you that while I myself do not smoke or vape, I know plenty of other students who get their cigarettes along with other tobacco products from school," Emma Disse, a proponent of the ordinance, said.

I think we should trust our youth to make the right decision for their life. If we give them they choice, they'll make the right decision," Susan Sindt, an opponent of the ordinance, said.

Another proposed ordinance could make its way to the city for consideration Klemm said. Whether that ordinance happens or if it'll exclude e-cigarettes is a waiting game.