The Albert Lea City Council, in a 4-3 vote, passed an ordinance that will raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21, in the city limits. They have joined other cities in the State, like Duluth, Waseca, and Brooklyn Center to raise the minimum age for purchasing. The legal age to own and use these products remains at 18.

There has been an effort from Tobacco 21, to raise the minimum age, in order to keep tobacco products, including vaping materials, away from minors, as they don't want children to become addicted to nicotine before they are legal adults.

From Tobacco 21's site, referring to Minnesota alone:

Minnesota has an above national average rate of high school smoking and adult smoking. An estimated 102,000 children now under the age of 18 will die prematurely due to smoking, with 2,500 children becoming daily smokers each year. The high school student’s e-cigarette usage rate is 19.2%; driving up Minnesota’s overall youth tobacco use rates.

The state is currently spending 43% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention, and recently increased its cigarette tax to $3.04 a pack. While their progress is encouraging, the numbers still show that health care costs due to smoking are $2.51 billion annually, with another $1.54 billion in lost productivity.

With individual cities making it more difficult for those under 21 to even purchase tobacco products, this keeps those products out of the hands of children, at least that is the hope. You can read more about Albert Lea's decision here.  The City Council has said the ordinance will go into effect after the next council meeting, in which they will set a date for the ordinance, and they will assist vendors during the transition.


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