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Hastings raises tobacco sales age to 21

March 21, 2020

Communities across the state of Minnesota continue to raise the tobacco sales age to 21 and Hastings became the latest to protect its youth by doing so on March 2, 2020.
Hastings is the 67th community to raise the tobacco sales age, doing so less than an hour after Lakeville also raised the age to 21.
“The evidence is starting to show how disastrous this is for young people,” Council Member Lori Braucks said. “I have plenty of friends who have talked about dealing with this with their kids and how painful it is. It really is predatory in how it’s been advertised and targeted at kids.”
With e-cigarette use among youth continuing to rise, communities in Minnesota are working to combat what the U.S.
Surgeon General has called an “epidemic.” Survey results released in October showed an alarming jump in the rate of teens vaping in Minnesota. According to the 2019 Minnesota Student Survey, one in four Minnesota 11th graders reported using an e-cigarette in the past 30 days. That is a 54 percent increase from the 2016 survey. Overall youth tobacco use had already taken an upward swing in 2017 for the first time in 17 years because of e-cigarette and flavored cigar use.
Resident Gail Conzemius testified about what she sees from young 18- and 19-year-olds on the college campus where she works and thanked the council for their diligence.
“Raising the sales age to 21 to purchase devices like these from tobacco retailers in our community will have a major impact on youth access,” Conzemius said. “It also sends a message to Big Tobacco that our community values health over tobacco industry profits.”
A high school student testified about how easy it is to get products from older students and about her concern for her peers becoming addicted to nicotine.
“I’m watching my peers becoming addicted to nicotine because vapes are so easy to get” the student said. “Raising the sales age to 21 takes away the connection between the 18-year-old high school students who are buying and then selling them to younger kids. This ordinance is extremely important and is a step in the right direction to help keep my friends from becoming addicted to tobacco products and stay healthy.”

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