Moorhead officials raise tobacco age, ban flavored products

Fargo-Moorhead 'skyline'
The Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead, Minn., where officials voted Tuesday to make changes to the city's tobacco laws.
Nate Minor | MPR News 2013

City officials in Moorhead have raised the legal age to buy tobacco products and banned all flavored tobacco products from stores.

KFGO reported that the City Council voted 7-1 on Tuesday to adopt an ordinance that raises the legal age from 18-21 and bars all flavored products from licensed stores, including methanol cigarettes, flavored chewing or smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes and vape juices.

The ordinance brings the city into compliance with a federal law that raises the minimum legal sales age for all tobacco products from 18 to 21.

A number of people appeared to support the ban during a public hearing ahead of the vote. Becky Anderson, respiratory manager for Sanford Heath, spoke of the years she has spent dealing with those dying of diseases resulting from smoking. She said she sat beside the beds of thousands of patients, trying to bring them some measure of comfort when many of them were dying.

Alderman Matt Gilbertson cast the lone dissenting vote. He said government can't regulate people's behavior. He said prohibition doesn’t work and people will just cross into North Dakota to buy tobacco in Fargo.

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