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Wilkin County becomes sixth Minnesota county to pass Tobacco 21

BRECKENRIDGE, Minn. — Wilkin County commissioners unanimously approved Tobacco 21 on Tuesday, June 11, raising the purchasing age for tobacco and vaping products sold in the county beginning Sept. 1.

A half dozen supporters testified during a public hearing. The initiative was brought forward by Wilkin County Public Health, the county’s We Care Coalition and Partnership 4 Health, the Wahpeton Daily News reported.

Wilkin is the sixth Minnesota county, along with 30 municipalities, to approve T21, according to ClearWay Minnesota. More than a quarter of the state's population resides in communities with T21, according to tobacco21.org.

“As a principal here the last three years, I haven’t busted anyone for chewing tobacco. I haven’t busted anyone for cigarettes or marijuana either, but a lot of vaping,” Breckenridge High School Principal Craig Peterson said. “We put vaping detectors in our high school building this year. It gives us a text, an email, if there are any detected, but the last few months of school we didn’t get any. We’re being very proactive in what we’re doing.”

Some retailers are following CVS, which stopped selling tobacco products altogether in 2014, in limiting tobacco sales to teens. In July, Walmart will join other retailers who already have disallowed sales to anyone under 21.

According to tobacco21's website, Beverly Hills, Calif., will ban the sale of virtually all nicotine products in 2021.

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