Bloomington becomes third city to raise tobacco sales age to 21

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The Bloomington City Council showed strong leadership in protecting the health and well-being of its youth on Nov. 6. The City Council voted 6-0 to raise the sale age for all tobacco products to 21.

“Adopting this now, instead of three months or six months from now, we probably will save somebody’s life,” said Bloomington Council Member Eldon Spencer. “We might save five or ten lives and that’s probably more than we do at the average Council meeting. So, I think it is a very good step and I want to be part of it.”

Bloomington is the third city in Minnesota to raise the age to 21. The city joins five states – Hawaii, California, New Jersey, Maine and Oregon – and more than 260 municipalities in protecting youth by raising the sales age for tobacco to 21. In May, Edina became the first city in Minnesota to raise the age to 21. Saint Louis Park followed in June.

More than 95 percent of current smokers started smoking before they turned 21. If youth don’t start smoking before the age of 21, they likely never will. Needham, Mass., raised the tobacco age to 21 in 2005 and within five years, tobacco use among high school students decreased by nearly half.

“I am proud to be a part of a community that is willing to take the extra step to protect our young people from the harms of tobacco,” said Jenna Carter, a mother and Bloomington resident who works for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Center for Prevention. “I have seen first-hand what addiction to tobacco can do and I am happy that the Bloomington City Council unanimously voted for this ordinance.”

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