Scandia has joined the growing list of cities that now prohibit the sale of tobacco products to people under 21 years of age.

Following a few months of back-and-forth on the topic, the Scandia City Council last week approved an ordinance that sets the new age requirement. The bill also expands compliance checks and will prohibit any new tobacco retailers in the city from opening within 1,000 feet of any youth-oriented facility, such as the elementary school or a day care.

The ordinance is the result of the nationwide Tobacco 21 lobbying effort, which has gained considerable traction in recent years. The city received several letters of support for the measure. Councilwoman Patti Ray read a prepared statement and three Scandia residents also spoke in favor of the ban during the public hearing. 

More than 40 Minnesota counties and cities, including nearby Forest Lake, have enacted similar bans. The Minnesota Department of Health also supports a statewide ban, and there are bills currently progressing through the Minnesota legislature.

During discussion last week, Councilman Steve Kronmiller raised the possibility of the city enacting a ban on e-cigarettes, in light of the vaping epidemic.

Other business:

• The council approved a $5,000 donation to the Washington County Historical Society’s campaign to build a historical museum.

• The council accepted a positive performance evaluation and approved an annual step wage increase for City Clerk Brenda Eklund. Eklund, a 15-year city employee, will now make $24.42 per hour.

• The council approved the hiring of Ben Johnson as rink maintenance worker at $11.25 per hour; and Reed Nelson, Nick Helland, Ian Schaefer and Cameron Zuniga as part-time skating rink attendants. The latter four are returning employees from last year and will make $10.11 per hour. The city intends to hire three additional rink attendants at minimum wage ($9.86 per hour) and a lead rink attendant at $11 per hour.

The next Scandia City Council meeting will be held Nov. 6 at 6:30 p.m.

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