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Kansas City Scores Twin Win On Raising Smoking Age To 21


The governing bodies of both Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas, voted Thursday to raise the legal age for buying tobacco and electronic nicotine-vapor products from 18 to 21 in their communities.

Advocates have said studies indicate that as many as 95 percent of adult smokers say they started smoking prior to age 21. 

They also have pointed to studies showing that 18-year-old smokers often become the “connection” for younger members of their high school social network, some as young as 14.

The legal age increase proposals sailed through the Kansas City, Missouri City Council and the Board of Commissioners of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas with only one “nay” vote on each of the two governing bodies.

Both the Missouri and Kansas ordinances take effect before Dec. 1 and include fines for sellers, but not for underage buyers.

Kansas City, Missouri, also added nicotine-vapor products to the list banned in enclosed public spaces, including bars and restaurants.

Steve Bell is afternoon news anchor and business news reporter for KCUR.  He may be reached at 816-235-5173 or at steveb@kcur.org.

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