ClearWay MinnesotaSM praised the Edina City Council tonight for passing an ordinance that would prevent youth smoking by raising the tobacco age to 21. Edina is the first city in the state to enact such a measure.
“Thank you, Edina City Council, for taking this historic step to keep young people from smoking,” said Molly Moilanen, our Director of Public Affairs, after the vote. “Almost 95 percent of adult addicted smokers start before age 21. This policy makes it harder for young people to access tobacco products before that age – and if young people make it to 21 without smoking, chances are they will never start.”
According to Dr. Caleb Schultz, a physician who has spearheaded the policy effort in Edina, “Tobacco 21 is the right step for Edina to take, because we care about our kids. We will be the first, but hopefully not the last. Edina can set an example for other communities to follow.”
Nia Kilstofte, of the Edina High School Sober Squad, supported the measure as well. “Raising the minimum sales age will remove tobacco from the high-school environment. By working together, we can protect generations to come from these dangerous and deadly products.”
A national consensus is growing to prevent addictions and future health problems by raising the sale age of tobacco products to 21. California and Hawaii and more than 220 cities and counties throughout the United States have raised the tobacco age.
- Research shows that increasing the tobacco age in Minnesota would prevent 30,000 kids from becoming smokers over the next 15 years.
- The tobacco industry heavily targets 18-to-21-year-olds with candy flavoring, magazine advertisements and event sponsorships.
- 75 percent of adult Americans favor increasing the minimum purchase age for tobacco to 21.
Edina’s unanimous vote will likely inspire more local Tobacco 21 proposals and possible state policy action in the future.