Prairie Village becomes first NEJC city to raise tobacco purchase age to 21

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There was little fanfare surrounding the action, but Prairie Village on Monday became the first city in northeast Johnson County to join the Tobacco 21 initiative organized by Healthy KC, approving an updated ordinance that raises the age to purchase tobacco products and e-cigarettes in the city from 18 to 21.

The city council did most of the heavy lifting on the issue at its last meeting, and approved the new ordinance Monday with no discussion by unanimous vote as part of the consent agenda.

Healthy KC has approached cities throughout Johnson and Wyandotte counties in recent months about raising the tobacco purchase age in an effort to make it more difficult for youth to access cigarettes and other products during the period of life when most smokers become addicted. Kansas City, Mo, Kansas City, Kan., Olathe, Gladstone and Independence had all previously raised their tobacco purchase age from 18 to 21. In northeast Johnson County, Merriam and Mission had declined to take action on the issue. Roeland Park is still considering a measure.

The Shawnee Mission School District in November approved a measure encouraging all of its patron cities to join the Tobacco 21 initiative.

The new ordinance will take effect after the measure is signed by Mayor Laura Wassmer, who was absent at Monday’s meeting, and published publicly. There are eight cigarette retailers in Prairie Village that will be affected by the new age restriction.