Saint Peter has joined the growing list of Minnesota cities to pass Tobacco 21 regulations.

In front of a packed meeting with interested residents, the City Council approved raising the purchasing age from 18 to 21 on a 4-3 vote. It comes a month after the Council tied on a 3-3 vote, with the deciding vote coming from council member Susan Carlin.  

“When we first started discussing this issue, I wasn’t convinced that this was a very meaningful idea,” said Carlin. “But as I heard more and more about the access that younger children have, those 14 to 17-year olds, and how so many report obtaining tobacco through their older peers, I realized that there is a chance to really break part of the cycle and protect those younger, more easily influenced kids.”

Saint Peter is the ninth Minnesota city to pass an ordinance raising the buying age for tobacco products after Minneapolis passed a similar regulation on Friday.

“I think we’re starting to see this pick up speed. I suspect that the state of Minnesota will within the next few years start looking at a statewide ban on tobacco sales for those under 21. There’s at least one other state that has instituted an under 21 ban and I think that this is probably going to be something that more and more communities and more and more states are looking at.”

Tobacco 21 in Saint Peter goes into effect on August 1.