Parsons City Tobacco 21: Parsons, Kansas has passed an ordinance raising the legal age to purchase tobacco and vaping products to 21.
The City Commission was reportedly presented with two different versions of this ordinance and thankfully have gone with the less extreme of the two. The more extreme version would have seen use and possession of tobacco or vapor products by a person under the age of 21 become criminal offenses.
Tom Shaw, the city commissioner said that there were very few people who showed up at the commission meeting to speak in favor of or against the ordinance. But that doesn’t mean objections weren’t raised in the past. Shaw says that’s why there are two important exceptions to the city ordinance:
“One is for active duty military with a US military ID. If you’re 18 and older, you can buy these products. Or if you’re already 18 at the time the ordinance passed, then you can continue to buy it,” – Commissioner Tom Shaw.
This means that users born on or before the 2nd of April, 2000 will still be able to purchase tobacco and vapor
products within city limits. Users born after this date will need to be in active military service and be carrying their military ID to purchase.
Shaw says over the past few weeks, the city commission has been working on getting this ordinance into place. And the goal is to address what he believes is a very serious issue.
“Labette county is 102nd out of 103 counties that were ranked in 2018 for health rankings in Kansas,” says Shaw.
Shaw says while there are still likely concerns, the city commission wants the public to know this isn’t a witch hunt against those who use tobacco or vape
“We want to be welcoming to everybody, and we don’t want anybody who smokes or vapes to feel shunned or anything like that. Not at all. Everybody is welcome,” says Shaw.
Shaw says he believes in the future, the legal age to purchase tobacco products statewide will be raised to 21. He says with more cities putting this ordinance into place, it’s only a matter of time before state lawmakers look at the same measurer for themselves.
In related news, Topeka (also in Kansas) has recently had their own Tobacco 21 ordinance overturned due to a successful law suit based on the “home rule” principle in Kansas state law (read more here