St. Cloud, nanny city, Part II

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Now that it’s official that the St. Cloud City Council is packed with nanny state busybodies, the special interests are coming out of the woodwork. We’re now being told the virtues of government overreach. This time, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota weighed in with this editorial.

The editorial says “Ninety-five percent of addicted adult smokers started by age 21, which is why they heavily target 18-to-21-year-olds. With tactics like menthol and candy flavoring, magazine advertisements and event sponsorships, the tobacco industry aggressively markets to youth and young adults to recruit replacement smokers and guarantee profits.” Later, it says “Why should we care? Because smoking costs everyone. A recent report by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota showed smoking annually costs our state $3.2 billion to treat people with smoking-related diseases. Per capita, smoking costs $593 for every adult and child in Minnesota. It also claims 6,312 lives due to premature death. Every year.”

Let me answer the question first. Governments shouldn’t care. These are personal decisions. Anyone old enough to vote in elections and fight in wars is perfectly capable of making solid decisions. Further, this argument isn’t fitting for the situation. It’s one thing if a state law was passed raising the minimum age to 21. That law wouldn’t have much of a chance of succeeding but it would have a better chance of succeeding than this proposed city ordinance.

Passing this proposed ordinance might make people feel better momentarily but it doesn’t fix any problems. First off, I’d argue that this is a solution in search of a problem. Next, I’d highlight the fact that none of the other neighboring cities are thinking about raising the age. That means they’ll get the business that St. Cloud is chasing away.