The health dangers of tobacco are undisputed–but some Pelican Rapids officials are skeptical about getting involved at the municipal level.

Health officials from several counties, including Otter Tail, are advocating restrictions on tobacco sales to those under age 21.

“I appreciate the education about the dangers of smoking,” said Pelican Councilman Curt Markgraf, at the Aug. 14 Pelican City Council meeting.

“But making choices for adults is an avenue I don’t want to go down.” A concern for some councilmembers was the fact that the city would be required to enforce a sale restriction locally.

But views varied among city officials.

Police Chief Jeff Stadum: “Would I be in favor? I’d have to say yes.”

Councilman Steve Strand, though he said he is opposed to more and more government laws, said he would support the tobacco revisions if it was the will of the council.

But Councilman Markgraf held to his position that it was “government overreach.”

While Otter Tail is considering the age 21 sales law, Becker County declined at this point.

—Louis Hoglund, managing editor