ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. – On Monday St. Louis Park became the second Minnesota city to officially raise the tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21.
The St. Louis Park City Council passed the measure 5-0, with Mayor Jake Spano and Council Member Tim Brausen absent from the meeting, reports the Star Tribune. The ordinance will take effect on October 1.
Alpha News previously reported that the St. Louis Park City Council was considering the ordinance in late June. The ordinance would also increase fines on vendors caught selling tobacco products to underage customers. A first offense would result in a fine between $250 and $500, a second would incur between $500 and $1000, and a third offense in the space of three years would incur a 30 day day tobacco license suspension. This was raised from three days in the same city council meeting.
Even that was not enough for some members of the city council, as discussion of the proposal included talk of banning flavored tobacco or creating a whole new licensing class for flavored tobacco products, according to city council minutes.
Council Member Steve Hallfin had previously expressed reservations about the new tobacco regulations, but ended up joining the unanimous vote of the members of the city council who were present for Monday’s meeting.
“I abhor tobacco products, but this ordinance is misguided,” Hallfin said in a press release. “An 18 year old is considered an adult and can be a property owner, get married and go to war – I can’t see refusing to sell tobacco to them.”
Edina became the first city in Minnesota to raise the tobacco purchasing age to 21 in early May, with that ordinance taking effect July 1. Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) also introduced a bill to raise the purchasing age to 21 statewide at the end of the legislative session.