To the Editor:
I want to express my whole-hearted appreciation to Rep. Jeff Brand for being a longtime champion of raising Minnesota’s tobacco age to 21.
On May 16, Gov. Tim Walz signed a statewide Tobacco 21 bill into law. The bill was the culmination of years of bipartisan conversations inside school classrooms, city council chambers, small businesses and more recently, the state legislature. Before it reached bipartisan support in St. Paul, it was being prioritized here in St. Peter, thanks to then-city councilor Brand.
On May 29, 2018, St. Peter became the ninth Minnesota community to raise the local tobacco age. Brand was instrumental in cultivating support a local Tobacco 21 policy. When elected to the state legislature, Brand kept going – he co-authored the House Tobacco 21 bill.
Raising the state tobacco age to 21 aligns Minnesota with federal law and reduces access to tobacco products. In passing Tobacco 21, our state is taking a vital step forward in protecting young people from the dangers of tobacco addiction. Raising the tobacco age is a very important first step toward this goal.
I am grateful for Rep. Brand’s longstanding support on this important health issue, including his recent “yes” vote in the House. Thank you for voting to protect the health and safety of the next generation of Minnesotans.