Waseca is the 21st Minnesota Municipality to Pass Tobacco 21
(December 18, 2018) -
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Tonight, the Waseca City Council voted to raise the minimum sales age of tobacco products from 18 to 21 in a 4-3 vote. This makes Waseca the 21st community in Minnesota to pass this law, nicknamed Tobacco 21.
"There has been a tremendous amount of support from Waseca citizens for this new ordinance, so the American Lung Association applauds the City Council for listening to their constituents to pass this important law," said Elizabeth Heimer, specialist of health promotions for the Lung Association in Minnesota. “We would also like to thank the Waseca Tobacco 21 Coalition for coming together last spring to prioritize their kids, and support a smokefree and healthier generation. Today we celebrate a win for the fight against lung disease and tobacco addiction.”
This law comes at a crucial time for tobacco control. The recent National Youth Tobacco Survey revealed that e-cigarette use in teens has increased by 78 percent and a Minnesota Department of Health report revealed that the high school tobacco use rate increased for the first time in 17 years. Data shows that 26 percent of high school students used a tobacco product in the past 30 days and that one in five high schoolers use e-cigarettes.
“Kid-friendly flavors and easy access to tobacco products has resulted in more youth becoming addicted. Currently, local teens are getting these products from peers who are 18. Raising the legal sales age to 21 in Waseca will significantly decrease the accessibility of tobacco products,” Heimer added.
Studies show that there is wide support for and compelling facts in support of Tobacco 21, including:
- 95 percent of adult smokers start before age 21, so Tobacco 21 prevents young adults from ever starting to smoke.
- Young people are more vulnerable than older adults to nicotine addiction, which can harm brain development.
- 75 percent of adults favor raising the tobacco age to 21, including 70 percent of current smokers and 65 percent of those aged 18-24.
- 20 Minnesota cities have passed ordinances raising the tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21, including Minneapolis, St. Peter, North Mankato, Bloomington and Plymouth.
- Six U.S. states have passed ordinances raising the tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21; they include California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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