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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Heather Edelson (DFL)

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Release: Minnesota House Approves Tobacco 21 Legislation

Saturday, May 9, 2020


SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota House approved legislation that raises the age for Minnesotans to purchase tobacco, tobacco products, electronic delivery devices, and other nicotine products, to 21.

“Research shows that raising the tobacco age to 21 will prevent youth addiction and save lives,” said Rep. Heather Edelson (DFL-Edina), chief author of the legislation. “Tobacco companies have been targeting youth to addict the next generation. In the 2019 Student Survey, 26 % of 11th graders reported vaping. 76 % of all youth reported not knowing how addictive vaping was before they started. Passing Tobacco 21 is an important statement in the fight against rising youth tobacco use. I am proud of the strong bipartisan support Tobacco 21 received today.”

In December of 2019, Tobacco 21 became federal law, which meant the minimum age required to legally purchase tobacco products increased from 18 to 21 for the entire country. At the time, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) directed retailers to immediately implement the change. Some retailers, however, have expressed confusion and insisted they will not comply until they see the change made at the state level.

The initiative has a strong bipartisan coalition of support among health care professionals, ClearWay Minnesota, youth organizations, and several Minnesota cities who have already enacted Tobacco 21 locally. The senate bill companion is authored by Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester).

Video coverage of the House floor debate is available here.