Gov. Walz signs Tobacco 21 into Minnesota law 3 years after its introduction

Minnesota became the 25th state to adopt Tobacco 21 Saturday after Gov. Tim Walz signed the bill passed by the legislature this week.

The process began May 2017 in Minnesota when the city of Edina passed Tobacco 21. Today, 75 Minnesota communities have passed Tobacco 21, according to Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation. Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) introduced the first Tobacco 21 bill into the legislature May 2017.

Congress passed a national Tobacco 21 bill in December. Minnesota’s passage of the bill aligns the state with the federal law.

“Raising the age to buy tobacco to 21 will help stop addiction before it stars and save young lives,” said Walz in a statement.

According to Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation, raising the tobacco-buying age to 21 will help keep tobacco products out of high schools, as there are few 21-year-olds in high school social circles.

The COVID-19 pandemic is also relevant to the tobacco discussion, according to Minnesota Department of Health statistics.

Studies have found COVID-19 may be particularly dangerous for people with lungs weakened by tobacco use.

“These are life-saving measures that will protect Minnesotans from harmful and dangerous products,” said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan.