One of the fastest growing trends in reducing the youth tobacco usage rates is centered around lifting the sales age for tobacco to 21.

While Minnesota as a state has not taken a full look at this, local municipalities are taking it on themselves to protect youth.

The Bloomington City Council did its part with a unanimous vote on Nov. 6 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 10 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 became the third city in Minnesota to raise the age to 21. In May, Edina became the first city in Minnesota to raise the age to 21. Saint Louis Park followed in June.

“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.”

Bloomington’s Council had previously taken steps to protect its youth by establishing a minimum price for cheap, flavored cigars. Before that, cigars were as cheap as three for $.99.