ROCHESTER, Minn. - The Olmsted County Board of Commissioners passed a change Tuesday to the Tobacco Sales and Youth ordinance to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vaping devices, to 21.
The change will go into effect on July 1. It passed on a 4-3 vote. The city of Austin voted to do the same thing during a meeting Monday night.
“As the Board of Health for the county, we have the responsibility to enact regulations designed to protect the health of our citizens,” said Stephanie Podulke, Olmsted County Board Commissioner. “The current push by tobacco and vaping companies to entice youth to start nicotine dependency and/or tobacco use is unconscionable. By targeting children well before their brains have reached maturity and understand the consequences of choices they are making, these companies create a lifetime market for their products. Once addicted, our children then face a lifetime of struggles with nicotine dependency.”
Olmsted County joins 30 other Minnesota communities to raise the minimum age to 21.
Albert Lea recently passed the same ordinance that moved the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21. That will go into effect May 1. Check out our poll results below: