Teen smoking is declining, according to a recent Monitoring the Future press release:
The 2011 national survey results from the Monitoring the Future study show decreases in teen smoking in all three grades under study—grades 8, 10, and 12. The proportion saying that they smoked at all in the prior 30 days fell significantly for the three grades combined, from 12.8% in 2010 to 11.7% this year.
Officials from the City of Northfield this week, while acknowledging that this is good news for obvious reasons, expressed some concern because the Northfield Municipal Liquor Store profits from its sale of cigarettes and cigars.
"These teens are our potential future customers," said Juan Morefore DeRhode, Muni Manager. "If this trend holds up, we’re going to have to revisit the revenue projections in our long-range plan and adjust accordingly."
When asked what marketing strategies he’d consider that might help to ensure future tobacco revenues, DeRhode said he continues to have discussions with the gift shop at the Northfield Hospital, owned by the City of Northfield but operated by the Northfield Hospital Auxiliary. "We’ve always said that one of the reasons we carry tobacco products at the Muni is for the convenience of the customer. That rationale holds up for the hospital’s gift shop, too, with so many of its patients addicted to tobacco. We’d be delighted to work with them and split the profits."
The issue was on the agenda of Northfield’s Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Alcohol & Drug Use last week.
"Tobacco will prematurely kill the kids who smoke but only when they get much older," said Task Force member Dr. Kirsten Mashton. "So we’re not really concerned about that. Our worries are tied to the revenue projections. We received $15,750 in 2011 from the Muni. If the decline in teen smoking continues, that jeopardizes our future funding and our ability to make an impact."
The City’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) is also concerned. "We worked hard to bring two tobacco businesses to Northfield in the past year," said EDA President Janis Tappan. "It would be a shame if Tobacco Field or Division Tobacco took a hit from this decline in teen smoking and had to close."