While the coronavirus has slowed down the passage of a number of pieces of legislation, earlier this week the Eagen City Council gave its final approval to an ordinance that raises the city’s minimum age to purchase tobacco and electronic smoking devices to 21-years-old.
The city has been working on the increase since Oct. 2019. Along the way, the city removed penalties for underage purchase, use or procurement, or what are collectively known as PUP penalties, though it did retain a provision that makes it illegal for a person under 21-years-old to use a false identification to purchase tobacco. The ordinance puts much more of the burden on retailers, requiring tobacco retailer license holders to have, and provide proof of, a tobacco sales training program for its staff; requiring license holders to be at least 21-year-old; and increasing the number of annual compliance checks from one to two, with individuals between 15 and 20-years-old used in the checks.
It went into effect immediately upon passage and publication, and brings the city into compliance with the federal minimum age to purchase tobacco products. However, since enforcement is handled at the local level, many cities, counties and states have been unable to enforce it if their laws didn’t specify the minimum age as 21-years-old. While more than 70 cities and counties in the state have passed Tobacco 21 legislation both before and after the federal increase, the Minnesota Legislature has not yet passed a statewide increase.
Eagan is located just under 20 miles southeast of Minneapolis and has a population of approximately 66,500 residents.