Federal law says the legal age to buy tobacco is 21, while MN state laws still say age 18.
ST PAUL, Minn. — On Saturday the Minnesota House of Representatives passed legislation raising the legal age to purchase tobacco, tobacco products and e-cigarettes in Minnesota from 18 to 21.
According to a press release, HF 331 will provide clarity to retailers confused by the state tobacco ago of 18 and the federal age of 21, updates the state’s definitions of ‘tobacco’, updates state compliance checks when selling tobacco products, and updates the best practices of state penalties to better match up with federal laws.
“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.”
Tobacco 21 is a federal law that passed in December 2019, legally increasing the age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21. Three years ago Edina was the first Minnesota communities to change the age of tobacco sales from 18 to 21 to comply with the Tobacco 21 laws.
The bill was passed 89-41 later in the day and now goes to the Senate, where it’s sponsored by Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester).