Edina Raises Tobacco Purchasing Age to 21

May 30, 2018 11:20 AM

The Edina City Council approved a resolution that will change the tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21.

The council passed the resolution unanimously at its Tuesday night meeting. 

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The south metro city is the first in the state of Minnesota to pass an ordinance aimed at stopping teens and young adults from picking up smoking.

The proposal has community support, but has drawn sharp criticism from business owners, who argue the new ordinance will simply drive people to nearby towns to purchase tobacco products.

Mike Sheldon is with ClearWay Minnesota, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to reduce tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure.

He said what Edina did is similar to what happened a decade ago when the state legislature passed a statewide ban on smoking in restaurants and bars.

"This may create some momentum for other communities to do the same thing," Sheldon said during an interview Tuesday afternoon. "We did see this play out similarly with the statewide smoke free law where there were smaller communities that started passing these smoke free laws and eventually it grew to counties and bigger cities."

Sheldon said research performed by the organization shows 75 percent of adults nationwide are in favor of raising the tobacco purchasing age to 21.

"We've seen that it's effective in preventing youth from starting and that's what we're hoping will happen here in Minnesota," Sheldon said.

The city attorney said the ordinance will take effect on July 1st.

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Kirsten Swanson

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