Minnesota Raises Minimum Age for Tobacco Sales to 21

On May 16, 2020, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed new legislation, which takes effect August 1st, raising the minimum age for tobacco purchases from 18 to 21.

The law includes sales of e-cigarettes, chew, cigars, and other tobacco products. Minnesota is now aligned with federal law passed in late 2019 raising the federal minimum age for tobacco purchases to 21, making Minnesota the 25th state to adopt such legislation. The remaining states will likely pass similar legislation in order to remain fully eligible for federal grant funding.

The overwhelming majority of adults support raising the minimum age to purchase to 21. In 2015, an Institute of Medicine report estimated a 25% reduction in smoking initiation of 15- to 17-year-olds if the age to purchase tobacco were raised to 21. Raising the minimum age to 21 creates a 2-3 year buffer from high school youth who could otherwise buy tobacco products and share them with younger peers, thereby significantly limiting underage access to tobacco.

At the same time, the law and penalties for violations have also been adjusted, including stiffer fines for licensees. Licensees are required to place prominent signs regarding the penalties for underage sales of tobacco products and to check the photo ID of anyone under 30 years of age who attempts to purchase tobacco.

About Eckberg Lammers, P.C.

Founded in 1949, Eckberg Lammers, P.C. is one of the most well-known law firms in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. With offices in Stillwater and Hudson, our attorneys serve clients throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin across a wide platform of individual, business and commercial, and municipal practice areas.

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