Minnesota is one signature away from increasing the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21.

Update (May 16, 2020) — Gov. Tim Walz signed the bill into law.

The Minnesota Senate approved HF 331 by a vote of 43-21, less than a week after the Minnesota House of Representatives passed the bill. It now heads to Gov. Tim Walz, who has already agreed to sign the bill into law.

In addition to the purchasing age increase, the bill will add charter schools to the law regarding the prohibition of tobacco in schools, will increase administrative penalties, add municipal licenses of tobacco provisions, restrict persons under 21 from entering tobacco shops, and allow for alternative penalties to existing laws.

When signed, the bill will bring Minnesota’s minimum age to purchase tobacco products in line with federal law.

On Dec. 21, 2019, President Trump signed H.R. 1865, a $1.4 trillion spending bill that also increased the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 though it’s currently being enforced because it needs to clear procedural hurdles.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that upon signing that the new law went into effect immediately. It is halfwheel’s understanding that while the law might have changed, FDA likely lacks the authority to enforce the 21-years-old minimum age standard until after a few procedural steps, which likely would be completed by the end of 2020. However, the Premium Cigar Association (PCA), National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) have advised their retail members to comply with the increase to 21 as a precautionary measure.

FDA has stated that it is not yet enforcing the 21-years-old standard through its compliance checks program.

Update (May 16, 2020) — On Saturday, Gov. Tim Walz signed the bill. This story was originally published on May 14.

Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.