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Cook County Community Center Becomes Commercial Tobacco Free

Aug 26, 2023 09:41AM ● By Content Editor
Image: Cook County, MN

From Cook County, MN - August 26, 2023

The Cook County Board of Commissioners voted on Tuesday, July 11 to adopt a commercial tobacco-free policy for the Cook County Community Center. This means that smoking, vaping, or consuming any commercial tobacco products is no longer allowed on the Community Center campus, which includes the baseball field, community garden, ice rinks, horse area, parking lot, playgrounds, and skate park. It is also not allowed in one’s personal vehicle while on the Community Center grounds. This policy applies to everyone who uses the Community Center, including County employees as well as members of the public. Smoking inside of the Community Center buildings was already prohibited under Minnesota’s Clean Indoor Air Act.

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With this new policy, the Cook County ISD 166 campus, the YMCA campus, and the Community Center campus—all adjacent to one another along 5th Street in Grand Marais, are commercial tobacco-free. “We are excited to bring the Community Center into alignment with our neighboring organizations,” stated Sarah Waddle, the Cook County Community Center Director. “We want to promote healthy, active living in the community—and becoming commercial tobacco-free is one way to bring those values into our day-to-day operations.”

Across Minnesota, smoking and commercial tobacco use remains the number one preventable cause of death. “Tobacco companies have a long history of targeting youth and adults with their products, creating lifelong struggles with addiction,” adds Grace Grinager, Cook County Public Health Supervisor. “This new policy at the Community Center shows Cook County’s commitment to improving the health and quality of life of the people in the community we serve by creating a smoke-free environment that extends to all outdoor spaces at the Community Center.”

Free services to help individuals quit chewing, smoking, or vaping commercial tobacco are available to all county employees, visitors to the Community Center, and to the general public who live and work in Minnesota through Quit Partner ( ). These services include free medication, texting or email support, as well as one-on-one coaching. Teen specific confidential programming is also available at no cost through My Life, My Quit ( ).
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