Minneapolis raises tobacco sale age to 21

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Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey joined Council Members Jeremiah Ellison and Andrew Johnson and local leaders Friday to pass the ordinance raising the smoking age in to 21 in the city.

Minneapolis will become the largest city in Minnesota to implement a Tobacco 21 ordinance, joining several other cities fighting to reduce youth smoking and build support for a change in state law. The motion was introduced back in March.

“Today kids in Minneapolis continued blazing a trail for change in Minneapolis and around our state,” Mayor Frey said. “Passing this ordinance marks a resounding victory for our kids’ health and a tipping point for a change in state law. Our city is joining a coalition fighting the tobacco lobby to reduce youth smoking.”

“We have an obligation to our residents to protect our youth from a predatory tobacco industry,” Council Member Ellison said. “This policy has support from youth, educators, medical professionals, and many others. We're proud to join a regional effort to raise the tobacco purchasing age, joining a number of our suburban partners who have lead the way on this issue.”

“The best way to help someone quit smoking is to prevent them from starting in the first place,” Council Member Johnson said. “What we know is that by making it harder for teens to get their hands on tobacco products, fewer will start smoking, and that means fewer getting addicted and suffering the costly health consequences. The tobacco industry aggressively markets these highly addictive products towards youth. This common sense public health policy gives them a fighting chance.”

According to a 2015 report from the Institute of Medicine, raising the tobacco sale age to 21 would "reduce smoking initiation in 15-17 year olds by as much as 25 percent" and result in 30,000 fewer young adult smokers.

Other cities that have voted to raise the age include Shoreview, Falcon Heights, Edina, St. Louis Park and Plymouth.