Brooklyn Center became the 16th city in Minnesota to raise the minimum age to legally buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 when the City Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to adopt the measure.

The council also restricted the sale of all electronic tobacco delivery devices to adult-only tobacco shops, increase the number of annual compliance checks and increase the penalties for stores that violate the ordinance.

The measure also capped the number of tobacco retailers at 15, down from 21, and prohibits any new retailers within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, community centers and libraries.

Several community members and residents spoke in favor of the measure before the council voted.

"I was only in elementary school when I lost two uncles to tobacco-related illnesses," said Jess Nolan, who lives in Brooklyn Center and works for the American Heart Association. "While we can't go back in time to protect my uncles, we can do something to give the next generation the support they need to lead tobacco-free lives."

With the vote, Brooklyn Center joins Minneapolis, Bloomington, Edina, Excelsior, Falcon Heights, Hermantown, Lauderdale, Minnetonka, North Mankato, Plymouth, Richfield, Roseville, St. Louis Park, St. Peter and Shoreview in raising the tobacco sales age to 21. One county, Otter Tail in northwestern Minnesota, has also raised the age to 21.

Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768