Government & Politics

Independence becomes third area city to raise legal smoking age to 21

The Independence City Council on Monday night banned the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21, becoming the third area city to raise its legal smoking age. Kansas City and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., raised their smoking age last month. The ban in Independence applies to all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes.
The Independence City Council on Monday night banned the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21, becoming the third area city to raise its legal smoking age. Kansas City and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., raised their smoking age last month. The ban in Independence applies to all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes. skeyser@kcstar.com

Independence on Monday banned the sale of tobacco products to anyone younger than 21, the third metro city to do so in less than a month.

By a 6-1 vote, the Independence City Council passed the ordinance to raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 21 years old. Karen Deluccie cast the only dissenting vote.

“I believe that if you’re 18, you’re an adult, you have to make decisions including the decision to buy a product that people don’t agree with but it’s a product,” Deluccie said before the vote.

Marcie Gragg, who was the only other council member to comment on the ordinance, talked about how her son got hooked on cigarettes before he was 18. Not yet 20, he has since quit.

“I think the more evidence that comes forward that shows us that young people’s brains are not fully developed until early in their 20s tells us that while they have a legal right to do certain things, they don’t always make the best decisions and that’s physiological result of where they are at,” she said.

“I support this effort because I think we really need to be moving into the direction of allowing them to mature more properly before they chose those things and make it a little more difficult their hands on them until they reach that level.”

The Independence vote follows similar action by the Kansas City Council and the Board Of Commissioners of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., which last month banned the sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products to people younger than age 21.

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, under the Tobacco 21|KC campaign launched in October, hopes other cities join in, making the metro area the second largest in the country to take this step.

The goal is to convince every municipality in the metro area to raise its legal age for buying tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, from 18 to 21 — the same age it is for alcohol.

Robert A. Cronkleton: 816-234-4261, @cronkb

  Comments