St. Paul, MN (Jan. 12, 2017) – Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation, a coalition of 50 organizations working to prevent youth smoking in our state, today reacted to research released projecting that raising the legal tobacco age to 21 would reduce the number of youth and young adult smokers in Minnesota by more than 30,000 in the next 15 years. The study, "Raising the Minimum Legal Sale Age for Tobacco to 21: The Estimated Effect for Minnesota," was published in Minnesota Medicine.
"The root of the smoking problem is new smokers starting," said David Agerter, M.D., President of the Minnesota Medical Association. "Making tobacco products accessible only to adults over 21 widens the gap between kids and those who can be sold cigarettes. This research confirms this is a new way to prevent kids from starting."
The study was coauthored by ClearWay Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health.
Tobacco 21 policies have seen momentum across the country. California and Hawaii have passed laws at the state level, and more than 200 individual communities across the country have adopted local Tobacco 21 ordinances as well.
"The tobacco industry actively recruits replacement smokers to ensure their profits,” said Dr. Agerter. "The Minnesota Legislature can ensure our state remains a leader in protecting kids and keeping them healthy by passing Tobacco 21."
ABOUT MINNESOTANS FOR A SMOKE-FREE GENERATION
Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation is a coalition of Minnesota organizations that share a common goal of saving Minnesota youth from a lifetime of addiction to tobacco. In addition to raising the tobacco sale age to 21, the coalition supports keeping tobacco prices high, limiting access to candy-, fruit- and menthol-flavored tobacco and funding future tobacco control programs.
Partners include: A Healthier Southwest, African American Leadership Forum, Allina Health, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association in Minnesota, Apple Tree Dental, Association for Nonsmokers – Minnesota, Becker County Energize, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, CentraCare Health, Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, ClearWay MinnesotaSM, Comunidades Latinos Unidas En Servicio – CLUES, Essentia Health, Four Corners Partnership, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, HealthEast, HealthPartners, Hennepin County Medical Center, Hope Dental Clinic, Indigenous Peoples Task Force, ISAIAH, LAAMPP Institute, Lake Region Healthcare, Lincoln Park Children and Families Collaborative, Local Public Health Association of Minnesota, March of Dimes, Mayo Clinic, Medica, Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians, Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers, Minnesota Cancer Alliance, Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Minnesota Council of Health Plans, Minnesota Hospital Association, Minnesota Medical Association, Minnesota Oral Health Coalition, Minnesota Public Health Association, Model Cities of St. Paul, Inc., NAMI Minnesota, North Memorial Health Care, NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, PartnerSHIP 4 Health, Perham Health, Rainbow Health Initiative, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, Tobacco Free Alliance and Twin Cities Medical Society.