Edina, Minn. – The Edina City Council showed strong leadership in protecting the health and well-being of its youth on May 2. The City Council voted unanimously to raise the sale age for all tobacco products to 21.

“For me, it’s a fairly straightforward situation,” Mayor James Hovland said. “The long-term benefits to public health far outweigh the commercial aspects of this. This fits in the realm of what we can do and where we can make a difference. Hopefully, it will percolate up to the state.”

Edina is the first city in Minnesota to raise the age to 21. It joins two states – Hawaii and California – and more than 220 municipalities in protecting youth by raising the sale age for tobacco to 21.

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. Ages 18-21 are a critical time when young people move from intermittent smoking to daily use. Four out of five experimental smokers become daily smokers by age 21.

Needham, Mass., raised the tobacco age to 21 in 2005 and within five years, tobacco use among high school students decreased by nearly half. Edina first considered raising the age to 21 after a presentation last fall from Community Health Commissioner, Dr. Caleb Schultz. Councilmembers heard from many members of the community during the public hearing, including Dr. Schultz, who has spearheaded the policy effort.

“(Tonight) Edina demonstrated how much we value our children’s health by being the first city in Minnesota to enact a Tobacco 21 ordinance,” Schultz said.  “I’m proud of Edina for taking this major step in creating the first truly tobacco-free generation.”

A national consensus is growing to prevent addictions and future health problems by raising the sale age of tobacco products to 21.

  • Research shows that increasing the tobacco age in Minnesota would prevent 30,000 kids from becoming smokers over the next 15 years.
  • The tobacco industry heavily targets 18-to-21-year olds with candy flavoring, magazine advertisements and event sponsorships.
  • 75 percent of adult Americans favor increasing the minimum purchase age for tobacco to 21.