The Waseca City Council has introduced an ordinance that would raise the sales age of tobacco products from 18 to 21, known as Tobacco 21.

Specialist of health promotions for the American Lung Association in Minnesota Elizabeth Heimer said, “Tobacco 21 reduces youth access and reduces youth use of tobacco.”

A recent Minnesota Department of Health report revealed that the high school tobacco use rate increased for the first time in 17 years, and one in five high school students use e-cigarettes.

“Youth e-cigarette us now at epidemic levels,” she explained, “And so, we’re running into a new problem with these flavored products that are flavored like cotton candy – flavored e-juice and bubble gum e-juice — that kids are very attracted to.”

Among the products meant to appeal to youth are not just cheap, flavored cigars and fruity vaping liquids but apparel like this hoodie. The drawstring is actually vaping tubes and it includes a pocket to hide a vaping pen.

So far, 15 Minnesota cities have passed ordinances raising the tobacco purchase age from 18 to 21, including St. Peter and North Mankato.

Waseca will hold a public hearing on the ordinance on December 18th.