State Council Group Calls On Gov. Dayton To Lift Legal Smoking Age To 21
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) called on Governor Dayton and the state’s legislators this week to lift the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21.
The state council group—the same one backing unionized janitors in their push for a $15 minimum wage—said it was taking a cue from California in its latest call of action.
“California legislators overcame heavy-handed lobbying and threats from the tobacco industry, passing Tobacco 21 legislation because they recognized their duty to protect families in their state,” SEIU president Jamie Gulley said in a statement. “Don’t the children of Minnesota deserve the same chance to grow up addiction-free?”
Last week, the California State Assembly passed legislation that increased the legal age to buy tobacco in the state from 18 to 21. California Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign the bill when it reaches his desk, making California the second state after Hawaii to raise the age to 21.
According to the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation, an estimated 4,900 children become daily smokers each year. The direct health care costs for Minnesotan smokers, the organization said, is more than $2.5 billion annually.