Olmsted County, Minn. has thrown its support behind the Tobacco 21 movement, as the county’s Board of Commissioners recently voted 4-3 in favor of increasing the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21-years-old.
The increase will go into effect on July 1, 2019.
The county joins a growing list of cities, towns and counties in Minnesota to support the increase, with recent counts putting it at near 30 municipalities to pass such an increase. A similar measure is also being considered in the state legislature that would make the increase effective statewide.
“As the Board of Health for the county, we have the responsibility to enact regulations designed to protect the health of our citizens,” said Stephanie Podulke, Olmsted County Board Commissioner, in a press release. “The current push by tobacco and vaping companies to entice youth to start nicotine dependency and/or tobacco use is unconscionable. By targeting children well before their brains have reached maturity and understand the consequences of choices they are making, these companies create a lifetime market for their products. Once addicted, our children then face a life-time of struggles with nicotine dependency,” she added.
Olmsted County is home to approximately 155,000 residents. It is located approximately 100 miles southeast of the Minneapolis metropolitan area and includes the city of Rochester.