Olathe raises minimum age for tobacco purchases to 21


From KMBC by Brian Johson

2/2/2016 – OLATHE, KS  Olathe city leaders have voted to raise the age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21.

The vote Tuesday evening was 6-1 to John Bacon casting the lone dissenting vote. Thirteen people spoke out in favor of raising the age limit, citing health, economic and lifestyle reasons.

When the new rules take effect Saturday, Olathe will become the first city in Johnson County to raise the purchasing age to 21. The age limit will also apply to vaping materials.

People who violate the new rules would get a $25 fine and could be ordered by a judge to attend a tobacco education course.

Kansas City, Missouri, Independence and Kansas City, Kansas, are among the areas that have already passed similar rules.

Johnson County tobacco and vaping shops said they’ve seen more business from those cities since the new age limits were passed.

“When it was passed in Kansas City, Missouri, we were definitely getting people from the Missouri side coming over state lines to kind of get past that rule,” said KC Vapes store manager Jake Hullinger.

He said he doesn’t expect the new rules in Olathe to have much of an impact on his Olathe store because most of his customers are 21 or older.

Sara Pool, 19, said she doesn’t like the new ordinance.

“You are a legal adult at the age of 18, so I don’t see why you couldn’t make an adult decision on that, especially in the town that you grew up in or that you lived in,” she said.

Pool’s argument is why Mission, Kasnas, voted not to raise the age limit in December.

Still, others like Vincent Billam said he thinks it could help some young people.

“I started smoking before 18 and maybe if I would have waited until 21 and it was harder to get something, maybe I wouldn’t have,” Billam said. “I wish I never had started smoking.”


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