Newton raises minimum age to buy tobacco

September 25, 2019 - 12:36 pm

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The city of Newton is cracking down on smoking, after a group of teenagers this summer petitioned the city commission to raise the tobacco-buying age from 18 to 21.

On Tuesday night, the Newton city commission passed an ordinance making it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to buy tobacco or nicotine products.

All tobacco products are covered in the ordinance, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes (such as Juul), cigars, chewing tobacco, etc. 

The ordinance, called Tobacco 21, takes effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Ginny Chadwick, western regional director of Tobacco 21, said Newton was the 500th city in the nation to adopt T21.

Beginning next year, tobacco retailers will be required to obtain an annual license for each sales location, with an annual fee of $400, which is designed to offset the city’s costs of administering the ordinance and conducting compliance checks.

According to the Kansas Communities That Care Survey, in 2018, 5.2% of Harvey County youth reported using e-cigarettes in the last month. This year, that number is up to 11.9%. Looking at high school seniors alone, that number jumps to 29.3%.

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