This week’s gem – Isanti County Tobacco 21

Tobacco use among youth in Isanti County has been a growing problem, specifically e-cigarettes and vapes. At Cambridge Isanti High school, one in three 11th grade students uses e-cigarettes. Two out of three 18 year olds were asked to purchase e-cigarettes for younger kids, making tobacco even more accessible.

As the high levels of tobacco use among youth became evident, advocates and community leaders from Cambridge Medical Center, Isanti County Schools and Isanti County Public Health joined forces. This coalition held community forums and education sessions for parents, school staff and other stakeholders to determine the best solution for reducing tobacco use in Isanti. The consensus was that the community was ready to take on a Tobacco 21 ordinance to raise the age to buy tobacco to 21 and to reduce the presence of tobacco in schools.

Tony Buttacavoli, Isanti County Public Health Director, stated, “Public health doesn’t always have to be the leader with health and safety issues in the community, but it’s as important for us to be conveners of the community around issues.”

On March 20, the county passed a Tobacco 21 ordinance.

This work is a great example of a community coming together across multiple sectors to protect the health of Minnesota youth.

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