Minnesota is one step closer to aligning itself with federal age limits for buying tobacco.
On Saturday, the state house passed HF 331, aka Tobacco 21, a bill that would require anyone buying cigarettes, cigars, vape, chew and other products to be at least 21 years old.
"I am proud of the strong bipartisan support Tobacco 21 received today," said the bill's chief author, Rep. Heather Edelson (DFL-Edina), in a statement —noting that "research shows that raising the tobacco age to 21 will prevent youth addiction and save lives.”
The federal version of Tobacco 21 went into effect in December 2019, making it clear that it's illegal for retailers to sell any tobacco product to anyone under 21.
So why is legislation necessary in Minnesota?
According to a press release from the state house, "Some retailers... have expressed confusion and insisted they will not comply until they see the change made at the state level."
The release notes that the initiative has "a strong bipartisan coalition of support," with the state senate's version of the bill being authored by Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester).
That bill, SF 463, is still in the committee process and hasn't yet had a full senate vote.