April 25, 2019 08:47 PM
The Minnesota House of Representatives has passed an omnibus bill including policies to raise the state’s tobacco age to 21.
The House voted 74-55 Thursday evening to approve the bill.
In addition to raising the state’s tobacco age to 21, the bill:
· Funds services to help people quit smoking, ensuring Minnesota won’t become the lone state without a statewide quit-smoking service.
· Dedicates delinquent settlement fees to health services so the state can continue to provide tobacco prevention services.
· Expands the smoking definition to include e-cigarettes, ensuring e-cigarettes are prohibited where smoking is prohibited.
Bill proposing to raise the tobacco age to 21 passes 2 Minnesota House, Senate committees
"Thank you to Chair Liebling and the Minnesota House for sending a clear message that the health of our kids and our neighbors is more important than tobacco industry profits," Molly Moilanen, Vice President at ClearWay Minnesota and Co-Chair of Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation, said in a news release after the vote.
"People from across our state agree that we can do more to address the devastating harm of tobacco use and this bill is a huge step in the right direction. Right now, Minnesota is losing ground to the tobacco industry and we are facing a youth nicotine epidemic. Through these provisions, Minnesota can stop kids from ever starting, help adults quit smoking and keep our air clean."
Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation said tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and disease, costing residents an estimated $7 billion annually and taking the lives of more than 6,300 Minnesotans every year.
The bill will now head to the Senate.