Now that Edina has approved raising the age for buying cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 to 21, the idea is winning support elsewhere in Minnesota.

A community health manager in northwestern Minnesota wrote last week in a letter to the editor that what Edina and more than 200 other communities around the country have done "will help prevent more kids from being addicted to tobacco products."

Karen Crabtree, manager of social services and community health for Essentia Health St. Mary's in Detroit Lakes, wrote in Detroit Lakes Online, "Congratulations to Edina leaders for being a forward-thinking community that puts the health of their future generation first. Tell local leaders you want Becker County to be next to make the move … and help keep our kids from becoming tomorrow's tobacco statistics."

Early in May, Edina's City Council made the suburb the first community in Minnesota to boost the minimum age to buy tobacco-related products to 21.

A few days later, legislation was proposed in the state Senate to do the same across Minnesota.

"A recent Minnesota study found that the number of 15-year-olds who smoke would be reduced by 25 percent if the tobacco sales age was increased to 21," wrote Crabtree, who added that "as someone who has smoked, I know personally that it's really tough to quit."

She acknowledged that it must be a "scary thought" for local businesses "to not know if or how" an older age would impact sales.

"I shop local often, but would personally make a point to increase that support for local businesses that support" pushing the age up to 21, she said.

Elsewhere in Minnesota, two Hutchinson City Council members have voiced support for falling in line with Edina on setting the minimum age at 21.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482