Minnesota could soon have its second city to make the minimum age to purchase tobacco and alternative smoking products 21-years-old, as on Monday the St. Louis Park City Council approved the proposal’s first reading by a 6-1 vote.
A second vote is scheduled for July 17; if approved the increase would go into effect on Oct. 1, as currently written. Fines for retailers selling tobacco to an underage person would increase as well, with a first offense coming with a fine of $500. A second violation within a 36-month period would come with a $1,000 fine and one-day suspension of the retailer’s tobacco sales permit, while a third offense costs $2,000 and a three-day suspension.
While the proposal acknowledges that raising the age to possess and/or use tobacco as well as purchase it would go further to reduce tobacco use, it also acknowledges the difficulty in enforcing it, and as such doesn’t propose such an increase.
In early May, the city of Edina became the first city in Minnesota to pass an increase in the age to purchase tobacco, raising it to 21-years-old. That change is set to go into effect on July 1.
St. Louis Park is located immediately to the west of Minneapolis and is home to approximately 47,500 residents.