The age to purchase tobacco products is now officially 21-years-old in Minnesota, as an increase signed into law in mid-May has gone into effect.
HF 331 raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, e-cigarettes and vaping products to 21, bringing it into alignment with the federal minimum age, which was increased to 21 in Dec. 2019 as part of a spending bill, though enforcement has not yet gone into effect. While the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) stated that upon signing that the new law went into effect immediately. It appears that FDA likely lacks the authority to enforce the 21-years-old minimum age standard until after a few procedural steps, which are likely to be completed by the end of 2020.
FDA has stated that it is not yet enforcing the 21-years-old standard through its compliance checks program. However, the Premium Cigar Association (PCA), National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) quickly began advising their retail members to comply with the increase to 21 as a precautionary measure.
As part of the federal increase, states who demonstrate progress in reducing tobacco use, especially by persons under 21-years-old, will have access to federal grant money to further their efforts. While nearly 20 states had passed increases prior to the federal increase, a growing number have done so in recent months to bring themselves into compliance with federal law.
In addition to raising Minnesota’s tobacco purchasing age to 21, the bill also added charter schools to the law regarding the prohibition of tobacco in schools, increased administrative penalties, added municipal licenses of tobacco provisions, restricted persons under 21 from entering tobacco shops, and allowed for alternative penalties to existing laws.