To the Editor:

Thank you Rep. Mark Uglem for signing on to support legislation in the Minnesota House to raise the state tobacco sale age to 21.

Tobacco 21 policies have been proven to reduce use of tobacco products among young people. Almost 95 percent of addicted adult smokers started smoking by age 21. If we can keep young people from using tobacco products by the time they turn 21, they will likely never get hooked.

As a health professional who has worked with the Partnership for Change and Minnesota Institute of Public health, I’ve long worked in substance abuse prevention, and I think this legislation is a good idea to help protect our youth.

More than 290 cities around the country – including five here in Minnesota – and five states have raised the tobacco age to 21. Minnesota is consistently a leader on health issues, and it’s time for the state to raise our tobacco age to 21.

Thanks again to Rep. Uglem for her leadership and hard work on this important issue.

Sheila Nesbitt


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