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Legal age increased to purchase tobacco in St. Louis Park

Post Date:July 18, 2017 9:56 a.m.
At its July 17, 2017, meeting the St. Louis Park City Council passed an ordinance raising the legal age to purchase tobacco and tobacco products in St. Louis Park from 18 to 21 years old and increasing administrative fines for violation of the ordinance. The ordinance was on the consent agenda and was approved 5-0 (Mayor Jake Spano and Councilmember Tim Brausen were not at the meeting). The ordinance goes into effect October 1, 2017, and makes St. Louis Park the second city in the state of Minnesota to enact such an ordinance.

The purpose of the ordinance is to limit availability of tobacco products and to help reduce the number of youth who begin using tobacco. The ordinance includes an increase in administrative fines for violations by tobacco license holders in the city, from $250 to $500 for a first violation and from $500 to $1000 for a second violation. It also increases the license suspension from three days to 30 days for a third violation within three years. Compliance checks of tobacco license holders are conducted annually by the St. Louis Park Police Department, and licenses are renewed annually.

The St. Louis Park City Council first discussed raising the legal age for purchasing tobacco products, as well as the sale of flavored tobacco products, at a study session May 15, 2017. That study session was followed in late May by two informational meetings for the 23 tobacco license holders in St. Louis Park. At a June 26, 2017, special meeting, the city council approved by a vote of 6-1 the first reading of the ordinance.