This week, a bill was introduced into the Minnesota state legislature that proposes making the minimum age to purchase tobacco products 21-years-old statewide, a change that could be likely given the localized support the Tobacco 21 movement has received in the state.
The bill, H.F. 331, was authored by Rep. Heather Edelson, DFL-Edina, and has gained six co-sponsors already.
In addition to the age increase, it would also prohibit persons under 21 from entering a retail tobacco shop, increase the fines for selling to an underage individual and would add charter schools to the prohibition of tobacco in schools. It does not change any current age requirements for the possession of tobacco products, meaning that would stay at 18-years-old.
The bill has been referred to the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee, where it is awaiting its first hearing.
Numerous states are currently considering legislation that would increase the tobacco purchasing age to 21, including Mississippi, Washington, New Mexico, Michigan, South Carolina, Illinois, New York, Connecticut, Texas, Delaware, Virginia, Vermont, Indiana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Maryland. North Dakota also has a bill that would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 19-years-old.
Minnesota has become a hotbed of cities and counties passing their own increases in recent years. Just last week, Beltrami County passed its own increase, while Minneapolis raised the age to purchase tobacco products to 21-years-old in May 2018.