Tobacco 21 Law Goes Into Effect Statewide to Ensure Compliance
On August 1st, the Minnesota Tobacco 21 law went into effect to help ensure implementation and compliance of a commercial tobacco sale age to people who are 21 and older.
The state law will help strengthen the national Tobacco 21 law that went into effect in December 2019 by allowing local governments to conduct compliance checks and ensure the law is being followed.
The law also aims to improve health by reducing smoking and vaping. Almost 95% of adults who smoke started before they were 21. A 2015 study from the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine found that Tobacco 21 would reduce smoking initiation by 25 percent among 15 to 17-year-olds and by 15% among 18 to 20-year-olds. This reduction in smoking initiation would lead to nearly 250,000 fewer premature deaths among those born from 2000 to 2019.
“This law is an important step to protect Minnesota youth from the harms of commercial tobacco, and it will help prevent an addiction that often lasts long into adulthood,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm.
As the new law gets enforced, the state is also offering a new series of programs called Quit Partner, which offers free support such as coaching and medications for quitting commercial tobacco. The Minnesota Department of Health says that quitting tobacco is difficult, but using coaching and medication together can more than double a person’s chance of success. Minnesota’s first quitting program for teens, My Life, My Quit, will be able to support teens in the context of the alarming rise in the rate of teen vaping in Minnesota.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person who smokes may be at greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19. The Department of Health says that with Quit Partner available online, by phone, and by mail, Minnesotans looking to quit commercial tobacco and improve their health during the COVID-19 outbreak don’t have to go it alone and can find a way to quit that works best for them, all without leaving home.