Waseca has become the 21st city in Minnesota to pass the so called "Tobacco 21" ordinance. As recently as May of this year, only 9 communities in Minnesota had adopted the ordinance. The ordinance raises the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.

The Institute of Medicine estimates tobacco usage among 15 to 17 year olds would decrease by around 25% if the legal age to purchase tobacco products would be raised from age 18 to age 21. Most tobacco users begin before reaching the age of 21. Recently the Minnesota Department of Health reported an increase in high school age tobacco use for the first time in 17 years.

Waseca will put the ordinance into effect in three months giving retailers time to retrain employees. The "Tobacco 21" was a topic brought up and discussed during a recent Owatonna City Council hearing. Over 300 communities across the country have adopted the "Tobacco 21" ordinance.

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