To the Editor:

I am writing to urge you to stop the start in New Hope and vote “Yes” to raising the tobacco sale age to 21.

I care about preventing tobacco use by our youth because I have a child and another on the way, and I want to ensure we are doing everything possible to limit their exposure to tobacco. I have seen firsthand the effects of early access to tobacco and how easily young people can become addicted.

In 2017, Minnesota saw the first increase in tobacco use among youth for the first time in 17 years. This increase was largely due to a sharp rise in the use of e-cigarettes. We can prevent youth addiction and future health problems by ensuring that those who sell tobacco products do so to adults who are 21 and older. Increasing the tobacco sales age to 21 will curb access to tobacco among young people.

The tobacco industry continues to peddle menthol and other flavored products to youth, African Americans and other populations, to attract the next generation of smokers and get them hooked. Luring them into a deadly habit and sets them on the road to early hardening of the arteries and coronary artery disease in adulthood.

While Tobacco 21 statewide is on the way to the Governor’s desk, it’s time for New Hope to join in and make these lifesaving policy changes.

I encourage the Mayor and City Council to vote “Yes” on Tobacco 21 and restrict the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including mint and menthol.

Derek Bjoraker

New Hope

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