The Carlton County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Jan. 7, decided to reconsider whether to include flavored tobacco in an ordinance that would raise the legal age people can purchase tobacco products to 21 and ban flavored tobacco and vaping products in the county.
The board approved the ordinance in December, but did not establish final details or set a date for it to take effect.
After hearing from several community members and business owners about the flavored tobacco ban included in the ordinance, the board decided to hold another public hearing. They did not set a date for it.
The board will discuss the ordinance during a Committee of the Whole meeting scheduled for Feb. 4. However, they can't make any final decisions at that meeting because it's a work session. The measure will have to be taken up at one of the next regular board meetings.
The ordinance would also have prohibited businesses from selling tobacco if they are located within 1,000 feet of a youth-oriented facility.
The county put forward changes to the ordinance to grandfather in three businesses that would lose their licenses to sell tobacco products due to their proximity to youth-oriented facilities. The ordinance prohibits businesses from selling tobacco if they are within 1,000 feet of a school, playground, recreation center or park.
The businesses would be able to keep their tobacco licenses unless they fail to renew them or sell their businesses. The board discussed the proposed changes, but did not take action on them Tuesday.
Lance Line, owner of Cromwell Self Serve, said he contests the portion of the ordinance that will ban flavored tobacco products because it will impact his business. He also asked the board if they will lower licensing fees, considering the anticipated revenue businesses like his will lose. Members of the board did not respond to Line's question about licensing fees.
District 4 commissioner Mark Thell said two businesses in his district do not support the flavor ban.
Community member Dale Heikkila said he thinks the board members are over-reaching.
“It’s not the government's job to govern kids; it’s the parents job,” Heikkala said.