County commission hears proposal to raise tobacco buying age

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Twenty-one, it’s the age you can buy alcohol, but in Shawnee County it could soon be the required age to buy tobacco products too.

It’s something that has been happening more and more across the nation, including some Kansas towns and even three states. But now Shawnee County could be the next to impose restrictions, though this wouldn’t be for everyone in the county. Incorporated cities including Topeka, Rossville, and Silver Lake would be excluded.

This proposal is just for buying tobacco, so people above the age of 18 would still be able to possess it, which has some confused.

“It’s like a temptation, oh they don’t want me to do it, I’m going to do it anyway, it doesn’t make sense,” said Northside Smokes’ Sharina Mitchell. “Like why is it okay for me to have it, if I can’t purchase it.”

But supporters believe this measure could deter young people from starting the habit.

“People don’t make that trip to other states,” said Craig Barnes with the Shawnee County Health Department, referring to other examples of age restrictions in place.

“Same thing with other counties, people don’t make those trips, like I said, our goal is to start from here and to move with the other jurisdictions.”

The county commission will discuss this matter in further detail at next Thursday’s meeting and will decide if they will vote on the matter. If passed then, the resolution would go into effect in September.

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