When the St. Peter City Council first voted on a proposal to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21-years-old in April, it failed to gain passage by way of a 3-3 tie in the vote with one member of the council absent. On Tuesday, the full council reconsidered the ordinance and passed it by a 4-3 vote.
The revote came by way of a written request from two council members following the initial vote.
The increase will go into effect on Aug. 1, though it will not criminalize the possession or use of tobacco by a person under 21. However, the bill adds a new law that makes it a misdemeanor for a person under 21-years-old to use a false or fraudulent identification to purchase or attempt to purchase tobacco. The provision was added as a way to balance the responsibility between buyer and seller, according to a letter to the council from city administrator Todd Prafke.
St. Peter joins its neighbor North Mankato as passing an increase in the age to purchase tobacco, though Mankato voted against an increase and was at the time seen as being the lynchpin in getting the other cities to pass their own increases.
St. Peter has a population of just under 12,000 people and is located approximately 70 miles southwest of Minneapolis, which also recently passed an increase to its tobacco purchasing age.