Health Policy Through Jailtime?!

We have known about the harmful side effects of tobacco for decades. There was not a grand revelation that smoking recently got worse for everyone. It was bad for your health before. It is bad now. Nothing changed.

Well, that was before the Association of Non Smokers of Minnesota (ANSRMN) descended upon Robbinsdale. They want to take a legal product and make it illegal. They want to make it so that adults aged 18 to 21 would potentially be fined up to $1,000 or end up in jail for having a bad habit.

This heartless law pushed by the people at ANSRMN could have life-altering implications for young people trying access a product that is currently legal. 18 to 21-year-olds are either students or just getting started in their careers. How would they be able to face a $1,000 fine? Or jail time?  Imagine yourself at that age.  Even if no fines or jail is given, imagine the stress and worry at that age about having to take time off your entry-level job to go to court, pay court fees, hire a lawyer, etc. Will your boss understand? Will you be able to keep your job?  Would your job be flexible enough? How will the lost pay affect your upcoming bills?

And for what? Nothing changed about smoking. It is a bad habit. That doesn’t mean it should be illegal.  How does compounding health issues with legal issues help anyone?

Drinking pop or coffee is a bad habit for your dental health. Does that mean that the American Dental Association should push a ban on sugared drinks?  In fact, like cigarettes, alcohol is also known to cause cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other health issues.  Yet no one in their right mind would advocate we return to the Prohibition Era.  Quite the opposite, as the 2017 change in Sunday Sales shows that we continue to move away from prohibitionist solutions to addiction and substance abuse.

There is no reason to ban tobacco from convenience stores in Robbinsdale that will justify a 20-year-old facing jail time or a $1,000 fine. These laws have real effects on  people – our neighbors.

Contact your council member or Mayor Murphy and let them know that this tobacco ban is bad for Robbinsdale.



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