Decline in teen smoking jeopardizes profits for Northfield’s Muni, funding for Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Alcohol & Drug Use

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.

Northfield Municipal Liquor StoreOfficials 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, they recommend to visit if there is any bad treatments presented coming from hospitals.”

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.”

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  1. Curt Benson said:

    Ah Griff, indulging in your number one obsession again–the fact that the city owned liquor store sells smokes. I think it’s goofy that the city does that, but then again I think it’s goofy that the city owns a liquor store too.

    On a somewhat related note, I talked to a couple of college freshman home for winter break last week. They both commented that they were surprised how many of their fellow students smoked, and apparently just started smoking now that they were away from home.

    I think this is pretty discouraging in light of the $giga-jillians worth of anti smoking information they have been subjected to their whole lives. Plus, one might expect that college students, hopefully somewhat smarter than the average bears, would be more likely to make better choices regarding smoking. What’s up with that?

    December 24, 2011
  2. john george said:

    Curt- I think this is a very good example of how education level does not always result in wisdom. There is still a social esteem placed upon smoking and drinking. Until these two stimulants are treated like the dangerous addictive substances that they are, we will continue to see young people attracted to them. Just take a look at the advertising a person is submitted during any of the holiday bowl games. IMO, the whole pursuit of our culture is personal pleasure. My conclusion is that there is little wonder that we see young people embracing them.

    December 24, 2011
  3. Jo Kleber said:

    I felt like I was reading something that would have been printed on April 1.

    December 26, 2011
  4. Griff Wigley said:

    Curt, alcohol, when used as directed, is not harmful. Not true for tobacco.

    I think it’s disingenuous for the City to take some of the money it makes off tobacco sales to its citizens and then give it to the Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Alcohol & Drug Use. I think you guys should refuse the money until they stop tobacco sales.

    December 28, 2011

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