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House votes to raise Minnesota tobacco age to 21

House votes to raise Minnesota tobacco age to 21 Photo: KSTP

April 25, 2019 08:47 PM

The Minnesota House of Representatives has passed an omnibus bill including policies to raise the state's tobacco age to 21.

The House voted 74-55 Thursday evening to approve the bill.

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In addition to raising the state's tobacco age to 21, the bill:

  • Funds services to help people quit smoking, ensuring Minnesota won't become the lone state without a statewide quit-smoking service.
  • Dedicates delinquent settlement fees to heath services so the state can continue to provide tobacco prevention services.
  • Expands the smoking definition to include e-cigarettes, ensuring e-cigarettes are prohibited where smoking is prohibited.

Bill proposing to raise the tobacco age to 21 passes 2 Minnesota House, Senate committees

"Thank you to Chair Liebling and the Minnesota House for sending a clear message that the health of our kids and our neighbors is more important than tobacco industry profits," Molly Moilanen, Vice President at ClearWay Minnesota and Co-Chair of Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation, said in a news release after the vote.

"People from across our state agree that we can do more to address the devastating harm of tobacco use and this bill is a huge step in the right direction. Right now, Minnesota is losing ground to the tobacco industry and we are facing a youth nicotine epidemic. Through these provisions, Minnesota can stop kids from ever starting, help adults quit smoking and keep our air clean."

Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation said tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and disease, costing residents an estimated $7 billion annually and taking the lives of more than 6,300 Minnesotans every year. 

The bill will now head to the Senate.

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