LETTER: ‘The Roseville City Council passed a measure that can and will save lives’

To the Editor:

Thank you to the Roseville City Council for becoming the 11th city in Minnesota to raise the tobacco sales age to 21.

As a resident, parent and health advocate, I appreciate the city acting to get tobacco products out of high schools. Widening the gap between those who can legally buy tobacco and those who can’t will address that tobacco pipeline to younger students.

When people think of saving lives, they often think immediately of the fire or police departments. Last week, the Roseville City Council passed a measure that can and will save lives. Their action will prevent young people from getting addicted to nicotine.

Youth tobacco use in Minnesota rose for the first time in 17 years according to a recent Minnesota Department of Health study. More than one in four Minnesota high school students use tobacco products. This is largely due to a 50 percent increase in high school e-cigarette use, which is now at 19 percent. 

Teens have no idea that the mango-flavored Juul or the grape cigar increases their risk for nicotine addiction and the serious health harms that result from tobacco use.

I am encouraged by the leadership shown by the council. More than 300 cities and five states have already raised the age to 21. It’s exciting that Roseville is now among them. I am proud to live in a city that is willing to prioritize the health of its residents over the profits of the tobacco and vaping industry.

Katie Engman, Roseville

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