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Minnesota House OKs bill raising age to buy tobacco to 21

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota House approved legislation Saturday that raises the age for residents to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Lawmakers voted 89-41 in favor of the measure known as Tobacco 21. It became federal law last December, but promoters of the state bill say it is needed for compliance and enforcement.

“Some retailers … have expressed confusion and insisted they will not comply until they see the change made at the state level,” said Democratic Rep. Heath Edelson, of Edina, the chief author of the legislation.

Edelson said the measure has bipartisan support among healthcare professionals, ClearWay Minnesota, youth organizations and several Minnesota cities that have already enacted Tobacco 21.

The bill now moves to the Senate, where a companion piece has been introduced by Republican Sen. Carla Nelson, of Rochester.