KC, KCK pass ordinances raising age to buy tobacco products to 21


Thursday lawmakers for both Kansas City, MO, and Kansas City, KS, made decisions about the tobacco age in their cities.

Just before 5 p.m. KCMO's City Council passed ordinances to increase the age to buy nicotine and vapor products from 18 to 21.

It passed three ordinances. The first, with a vote of 11-1, raised the legal age to 21. The second ordinance, which defines that vapor products fall under tobacco product laws, passed with all 12 votes. The third, with a vote of 11-1, prohibits the use of vapor products in enclosed public areas.

Just before 8 p.m., KCK's Unified Government Board of Commission passed the Tobacco 21 ordinance with a 6-1 vote. Three commissioners missed the meeting.

The new ordinances will apply to buying cigarettes, vapors and any tobacco products within the Kansas City limits.

Tobacco 21|KC lead the efforts. Supporters said those who have had their first cigarette by age 18 are most likely to become lifelong smokers, creating lifelong health issues.

"Anything that's going to stop the kids from purchasing cigarettes I think will be great. If people are going to actually adhere to it and check ID's, then I think it would help out a ton," said Katie Bayless.

While youth smoking is declining, now researchers are seeing a growing use of electronic cigarettes or e-cigs.

"I suppose if it keeps kids from smoking. I'm all for changing the age," Kristen Cremer said.

Others say changing the legal age to buy the products won’t change anything.

"If a kid wants to smoke a cigarette, he will find a cigarette," Royce Rickman said.

Still others say it’s the government encroaching on the rights of citizens.

"If they can go to war, if they want to kill themselves with cigarettes, then that's their choice," Mark Nassar said.

And still others argued that businesses would see a decline in tobacco sales with the increased age limit.

KCMO's ordinance explained that it wouldn't be a crime for someone under 21 to possess tobacco products, just to buy them. Their vote took place before the full City Council, which began at 3 p.m.

The ordinance would go into effect in 10 days.

Copyright 2015 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved


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