Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - Olmsted County has become the latest local government in Minnesota to increase the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.

The change will also affect e-cigarettes.

supporters of Olmsted County tobacco age change/Kim David, Townsquare Media

The Olmsted County Board held a public hearing before Tuesday’s vote and heard from numerous speakers, including health care professionals and school district superintendents Belinda Selfors of Stewartville and Michael Munoz of Rochester. One of the driving forces behind the proposed age change is the growing number of teenagers who use vaping materials, which many feel can lead to nicotine addiction. Munoz told the board school officials confiscate “vapes” every day.

cart full of seized "vapes" at Olmsted County Board hearing /Kim David, Townsquare Media

Supporters of the age change say 18-year-olds who are still in school can legally purchase tobacco products and pass them on to younger students. The board was told many of those using vaping materials are not aware they contain nicotine.

Commissioners Brown, Kiscaden, Podulke and Wright voted in favor of the proposal. Commissioners Bier, Flynn and Thein voted against it.

The change is expected to take effect July 1st.

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