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Minnesota Senate passes bill raising statewide tobacco age to 21, sending it to Gov. Walz

FILE - This Aug. 28, 2017 file photo shows cigarettes displayed on a store shelf in New York. With a new law enacted in December 2019, anyone under 21 can no longer legally buy cigarettes, cigars or any other tobacco products in the U.S. Photo: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File. FILE - This Aug. 28, 2017 file photo shows cigarettes displayed on a store shelf in New York. With a new law enacted in December 2019, anyone under 21 can no longer legally buy cigarettes, cigars or any other tobacco products in the U.S.

KSTP
Updated: May 13, 2020 07:25 PM
Created: May 13, 2020 07:13 PM

The Minnesota Senate passed the statewide Tobacco 21 bill, which would raise the sale age of tobacco to 21 throughout the state on Wednesday.

The bill passed in the House on Saturday, meaning it will now go to Gov. Tim Walz for his signature.

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Minnesota House passes bill raising age to buy tobacco to 21

Raising the state tobacco sale age to 21 now aligns Minnesota with the federal tobacco age, which changed to 21 in December. The goal of Tobacco 21 is to reduce access to tobacco products, which will prevent addiction and save lives. Supporters of the bill hope that raising the tobacco age will help the state reverse rising teen vaping rates.

"Over the last three years, Minnesotans of all walks of life have stood up and advocated for Tobacco 21 – and today those efforts finally came to fruition at the State Capitol," said Molly Moilanen, Vice President at ClearWay Minnesota and Co-Chair of Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation. "Thank you to Senators from across the state for supporting Tobacco 21, which is the first step toward reversing the youth tobacco epidemic. We appreciate the steadfast, bipartisan leadership that has led to the success of the Tobacco 21 movement and we hope the Governor will quickly sign this lifesaving bill."

Walz has indicated he is supportive of Tobacco 21 and if he signs the bill into law, as expected, Minnesota will become the latest state to join the Tobacco 21 movement. To date, 24 states have adopted Tobacco 21 and two more states, Florida and Oklahoma, have passed legislation that awaits their governors' signatures.

While debating the bill, the Senate voted down amendments that would have exempted military members from Tobacco 21 and penalized youth for purchasing tobacco.


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