On Thursday, the Minnesota House of Representatives approved a bill that would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products in the state from 18 to 21-years-old. The increase was part of an omnibus health and human services finance bill, HF 2414, which includes a wide array of budget and health care issues.
The bill that passed the House was sponsored by Rep. Tina Liebling, DFL-Rochester, and cleared by a 74-55 vote. The version the Senate will consider is sponsored by Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake.
It’s a rather unique approach to getting the increase through the legislative process, especially considering that a separate bill, H.F. 331, had also been introduced and seemed to be getting support.
Should the bill pass both chambers and be signed by the governor, the increase would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. Minnesota would join a growing list of states to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21-years-old. Currently, 11 states have passed similar increase, while two more are awaiting the signature of their governors and several others have active legislation under consideration.