Dickinson Considers Lowering Age to Sell Tobacco

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Workers are in high demand and in Dickinson, staffing up isn't always that easy.

That's why some convenience store owners have asked the city commission to revise a city ordinance and lower the age of employees to 16 in order to sell tobacco.

"They'll find more employees, but it also opens up a can of worms for the kids," said Becky Byzewski of Safe Communities.

She says peer pressure is huge at that age, and even though underage employees would face the same consequences as any other worker, they might still feel pressure to sell to other minors.

"Right now, the statutes in place for sales of tobacco to a minor by an adult, but we don't have a statute in place that would be sales of a tobacco to a minor by a minor," said Capt. David Wilkie of the Dickinson Police Department.

Some city commissioners spoke in favor of removing the ordinance and some wanted to see what would happen if the proposal passed.

"Even though they may be taken into peer pressure to sell to a minor, they're also going to lose their job if they do that," said city commissioner Klayton Oltmanns. "So that would weigh heavy on making that choice as well."

The first reading ended in a 3-2 vote to change the ordinance.

The ordinance revision still has to go through two more readings before any changes can be made.