Tobacco 21 has officially passed in North Mankato.

On a vote of 3-1, the City Council adopted the policy which increased the purchasing age of tobacco from 18 to 21 but will not criminalize the activity.

“Making this choice is a good thing to impact the youth of our community,” said North Mankato resident Jeremy Kolars.

The lone no vote was from Councilman Billy Steiner who said he despises cigarettes and smoking, but felt it is more of a state issue than a municipal issue.

“If say North Mankato bans cigaretts, they can go across the bridge to LeHillier. They can go up the road just down from the radio station to Eagle Lake,” said Steiner. “I’m also not real big on legislative morality. Especially if they can fight in a war, but they can’t buy cigarettes. I think there is a dichotomy there.”

Councilman Jim Whitlock was not in attendance but gave his support of passing the measure in a written letter. Whitlock is a former smoker and is undergoing throat cancer treatment.

A start date to implement the new ordinance is unknown as the issue awaits a decision by the Mankato City Council.

Mankato will hold a public hearing on Monday to discuss Tobacco 21.

North Mankato resident Josh Ramaker said, “Nobody says you won’t get cigarettes or nobody says you can’t get alcohol. We know that’s unrealistic. But, if you can drop that by a small percentage. Isn’t it worth it? To have your grandkids or your kids not be smoking.”