Minnesota Aims To Raise Age Of Purchasing Nicotine Products
Bill Would Align State With Federal Law
The public health challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis have overburdened healthcare systems all over the world. While responsible lawmakers are doing all that they can to mitigate the public health and economic consequences of the pandemic, others are using a lack of civic engagement amid the chaos to advance their own agendas.
The Minnesota Senate recently approved a bill that would raise the minimum age to purchase nicotine-containing products from 18 to 21 within the state. Minnesota’s proposal is aimed at aligning state law with federal law following the December passage of Tobacco 21, which increased the minimum age from 18 to 21 nationally.
Some lawmakers contend the bill doesn’t go far enough, believing that there should be penalties for possession in line with similar laws concerning minors and alcohol. Other lawmakers argue the bill goes too far, believing that if you’re able to go fight and die for your country at 18, you should have the freedom to vape if you choose to.
Sponsors of the bill have stated that it is aimed at curbing youth vaping rates as well as clearing up confusion for law enforcement concerning the disparity. The bill is now set to advance to Governor Tim Walz’s desk, who has already pledged to sign it into law.
State vs. Federal
Tobacco 21 is a national legislative campaign aimed at raising the minimum age required to purchase nicotine-containing products from 18 to 21 across the United States. To date, 24 states, as well as the territory of Guam and Washington, D.C., have all adopted tobacco 21 legislation.
Minnesota is rapidly aiming to become the 25th, and better align state law with federal as it passes tobacco 21 legislation of its own. The bill has passed both the state House and Senate and is set to advance to the Governor, who is expected to sign it into law.
Sponsors of the bill have stated its aim is to reduce youth nicotine consumption, although there appears to be more to the story than that. By mirroring federal law, the state remains eligible for millions in matching federal funds and qualifies for federal grants that could be channeled toward the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission, which is responsible for tobacco and vaping enforcement as well.
“[This bill is] the first step toward reversing the youth tobacco epidemic,” said Molly Moilanen, a co-chair of the advocacy group Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation. In addition to advocating for Tobacco 21 legislation, the group also advocates for banning flavors and increasing prices for nicotine products to help curb youth usage.
Truth About Vaping
The worldwide smoking epidemic is responsible for killing and sickening millions of people across the planet each and every year. Data from the Centers for Disease Control estimates that there are currently 38 million smokers in the United States alone, 16 million of whom face some form of smoking-related illness.
Multiple studies have highlighted the efficacy of vaping in aiding smoking cessation, showing that it may be the greatest asset available in combating this deadly epidemic. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that vaping is more effective than conventional nicotine-replacement therapies in helping people quit smoking and remain tobacco-free. An additional study from the University of Louisville found that vaping was the single most effective form of smoking cessation available, more than even prescription options.
Not only has vaping been demonstrated as one of the most effective smoking cessation aids available, but research has shown vaping to be significantly safer than smoking as well. Studies from Public Health England and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center each found that vaping is 95% and 93% safer than smoking, respectively.
In addition to being an effective cessation aid and reduced harm alternative to tobacco, the current scientific consensus surrounding vaping shows there is risk associated with long-term use. Research published by the National Academy of Sciences found that vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking, and there are no known long-term health effects from prolonged usage.
Future Of Vaping
If you are able to go fight and die for your country, vote, buy property, and are legally held accountable as an adult, you deserve to be treated as such. Restricting the rights of adults to make their own decisions is anti-American, and anti-vaping activism exemplifies this.
Tobacco 21 legislation is a case example of the nanny-state in action, dictating what you’re allowed to do and what is right for you to do. The government is literally treating you as a child incapable of making your own decisions based on some virtue-signaling morally misguided principle paraded by politicians.
Members of the vaping industry and community must advocate against and lobby for the repeal of such legislation. Restricting freedoms and safe access to cessation options during such trying times is an affront to the American people as a whole.
What are your thoughts regarding Minnesota’s adoption of Tobacco 21 legislation? Do you believe the bill goes too far, or not far enough? Let us know what you think in the comments below, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!
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