May 08, 2017 02:30 AM EDT
Minnesota is vying to become the third state to raise the smoking age in the advent of the ballooning number of teenagers who smoke. California and Hawaii limit the allowable age of tobacco use from 18 to 21. Oregon has also approved a similar legislation in March but they are yet to pass a bill. If the policy gains an additional foothold, only those who are of 21 years onward can be allowed to purchase tobacco products.
According to Rochester Senator Carla Nelson, several cities are pushing for the legislation. However, a statewide basis is similar to a blanket policy over these cities, thereby saving time and efforts. When approved, the law is going to regulate tobacco and similar products to those of 21 years old. Also included in the law are cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and electronic cigarettes, the Twin Cities reported.
Apart from the increase in legal age of tobacco purchase, the penalties were made steeper. Anyone who is caught selling tobacco to underage users will face a $250 penalty from the original $75. Habitual offenders will face $500 for the second offense while it is going to double up to $1,000 for the third offense. The latter will also quantify for a revocation of license, according to Star Tribune.
Meanwhile, the long-term effect of the age restriction is in line with Minnesota's advocacy outcry for a Smoke-Free Generation. Initial estimates peg at 30,000 lesser individuals who are likely to smoke in the next 15 years. Nelson is confident that the legislation can ride along the Edina law. Further, there are 50 organizations who openly air their support to Nelson.
The tobacco industry is also equally energetic in their lobbying efforts. There is at least $486,000 that is being spent in these lobbying. At any rate, it appears that this is resulting otherwise since there is another effort to replace the existing annual increase in tobacco tax. Pending in the office of Gov. Mark Dayton is another version, yet a higher tax bill for tobacco.
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