News release: Statewide tobacco 21 goes into effect

News Release
August 3, 2020

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Statewide tobacco 21 goes into effect

Quit Partner offers free tools and coaching to quit

On August 1, the Minnesota Tobacco 21 law went into effect that will ensure implementation, compliance and enforcement of a commercial tobacco sale age of 21 years old.

The state law strengthens a national Tobacco 21 law that went into effect in December 2019 by allowing local governments to conduct compliance checks and ensure the law is being followed.

The law will also improve health by reducing smoking and vaping. Almost 95% of adults who smoke started before they were 21. A 2015 National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine study (National Library of Medicine - Raising the Tobacco Sales Age to 21: Surveying the Legal Landscape) found that Tobacco 21 would reduce smoking initiation by 25% among 15- to 17-year-olds and by 15% among 18- to 20-year-olds. This reduction in smoking initiation would lead to nearly 250,000 fewer premature deaths among those born from 2000 to 2019.

“This law is an important step to protect Minnesota youth from the harms of commercial tobacco, and it will help prevent an addiction that often lasts long into adulthood,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm.

As the new law gets enforced, more current commercial tobacco users will need help to quit. Quit Partner, Minnesota’s new family of programs from the Minnesota Department of Health, offers free support – like coaching and quit medications – for quitting commercial tobacco. Quitting tobacco is difficult, but using coaching and quit medication together can more than double a person’s chance of success.

The family of programs includes Minnesota’s first quitting program just for teens, My Life, My Quit. MDH is excited to be able to support teens, especially in the context of the alarming rise in the rate of teen vaping in Minnesota. According to the 2019 Minnesota Student Survey, 1 in 4 Minnesota 11th graders reported using an e-cigarette in the past 30 days, which is a 54% increase from 2016.

Quitting may be especially hard in these stressful times, yet it is also especially important. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person who smokes may be at greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19. With Quit Partner available online, by phone and by mail, Minnesotans looking to quit commercial tobacco and improve their health during the COVID-19 outbreak don’t have to go it alone and can find a way to quit that works best for them, all without leaving home.

Quit Partner is for Minnesota residents who use any form of commercial tobacco, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes/vapes and chew. Support includes free personalized coaching, email and text support, educational materials, and quit medications (nicotine patches, gum or lozenges) delivered by mail. Quit Partner has specialized programs for people living with mental illnesses or substance use disorders, American Indian communities, pregnant and post-partum women, and youth under the age of 18. Learn more at Quit Partner.


Media inquiries:

Scott Smith 
MDH Communications