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.