Minnesotans must be 21 years of age or older to purchase tobacco products starting Saturday, according to twincities.com.
The new law puts the state in line with a similar federal law that raised the legal age to purchase tobacco to in December. E-cigarettes and vapes are included in the law, as well as cigars, chewing tobacco and cigarettes.
This law will prohibit smoking at charter schools and institutes a series of $300, $600, and $1000 penalties for those who provide tobacco to anyone under 21. Also, repeated offenders could have their tobacco licenses suspended and eventually revoked.
The state approved the “Tobacco 21” measure in an effort to keep tobacco away from young people who might pass it on to children. After more than 90 minutes of debate the measure passed in the state senate 43 to 21. Governor Tim Walz signed the bill into law on May 16.
As evidence for the program, The Minnesota Department of Health (MNDH) said “there would be a 25 percent reduction in smoking initiation among 15-to-17-year-olds if the age to purchase tobacco were raised to 21.” Furthermore, the health department discussed the dangers of smoking in the age of COVID in another publication.
“We’re learning more every day about COVID-19 and why infections affect some people more than others. People who smoke or vape may have an increased risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19,” the MNDH publication said.
Clearway MN, an anti-smoking advocacy group, released a statement praising the law and thanked Walz.
“Thank you to Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan for listening to Minnesota’s youth and working with them to take on an industry that continues to profit from addiction and disease,” Molly Moilanen, the vice president at ClearWay MN nd co-chair of Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation said .”It will take a bold, comprehensive effort to truly combat the health crisis of youth vaping, and Tobacco 21 is a very important first step toward this goal.”
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