Edina leads state on tobacco ordinance

The Edina City Council became the first city in Minnesota to raise the age of legal tobacco sales to 21 last week.
The second ordinance reading was approved unanimously at the May 2 meeting to a standing ovation and applause from audience members, many of which wore Tobacco 21 shirts.
One change from the first reading of the ordinance at the late April meeting was changing the language from 60 days prior to passage to a set date of July 1.
“Sixty days … adds some unnecessary confusion to how we explain this to license businesses and just to the public,” City Manager Scott Neal said. “We picked July 1, which is just an easier way to go.”
Due to the fruitful discussion at previous meetings, the discussion was minimal.
Mayor Jim Hovland said that when the council was first approached by the Community Health Commission, they had no idea or intent of leading the state.
“But we have an ardent belief that we can have a profound effect on public health,” Hovland said. “The long term effects on … tobacco-related illness is significant – in a way, staggering.”
Hovland thanked the council for the “rich discussion” on not only the issue at hand, but also on whether or not Edina should be the leader on the issue.
“Hopefully this will percolate up to the state at some point, just like no smoking at bars, office buildings, all percolated up to the Legislature,” Hovland said.

Contact Ethan Groothuis at [email protected]