Minimum age to buy tobacco products may raise in Edina

Published 9:42 am Friday, March 10, 2017

EDINA — Edina soon could become the first city in Minnesota requiring buyers of tobacco to be 21 rather than 18.

The City Council this week voted to draft an ordinance and schedule a public hearing on the proposal, which is intended to curb youth tobacco use, according to a press release.

“If we can have a direct local impact on the health of our residents and (try) to do something that’s positive … we’ll take that step,” Edina Mayor Jim Hovland said.

Email newsletter signup

Dr. Caleb Schultz of the city’s Community Health Commission recommended changing the age requirement during a presentation Tuesday to the City Council.

“It is easy to choose prevention over such small sales and profits,” Schultz said. “We should be setting an example for the rest of the state.”

Schultz said the commission was spurred by Tobacco 21, a national campaign to raise the minimum buying age. He said he wasn’t aware of other Minnesota cities looking to adopt the Tobacco 21 initiative.

Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation, a coalition of state health organizations, also supports the campaign.

“I’m kind of surprised that no local municipalities have yet passed this policy,” said Anne Mason Yoder, senior public affairs manager for ClearWay Minnesota, which is part of the coalition.

More than 210 cities across the U.S. have raised the minimum age to buy tobacco products.

Community Health Administrator Jeff Brown said Edina doesn’t have any stand-alone smoke shops. But the city has nearly 20 licensed tobacco vendors, most of which are gas stations and convenience stores, along with its three municipal liquor stores.