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Recent updates! – Tobacco 21 Progress

In November of 2015, Wyandotte County became the first municipality in Kansas to adopt a Tobacco 21 ordinance. The Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, led by Jessica Hembree and Scott Hall, and joined by over a hundred other local civic and health organizations, spearheaded the impressive campaign. The measure passed by a 6-1 vote and was widely reported on, supported by both local and national media. At the same time, Kansas City, Missouri passed a sister ordinance, beginning the push to raise the age in the entire KC metro area to 21. Since this effort began, 20 cities in Kansas and 27 in the Kansas City area have passed Tobacco 21. (See KC area map)

Kansas has a slightly below national average rate of high school smoking, and an above national average rate of adult smoking. An estimated 61,000 children now under the age of 18 will eventually die because of smoking, with 1,500 children becoming daily smokers each year. The result is a $1.12 billion annual cost in health care that is directly attributable to smoking, and another $1.09 billion in lost productivity. The state spends only 8.3% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention, which has been decreasing in recent years.

Nothing in the state law prevents local governments from enacting their own youth access regulations for tobacco. This means, and has been proven by robust local efforts in KC, that Tobacco 21 is a viable option to progress their fight against tobacco related disease and economic burden. It has been our experience that the most powerful incentive for the state legislature to act is the initiative of local citizens and governmental leaders. Statewide, California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Maine, Oregon, and Massachusetts’ laws all began at the local level where powerful tobacco industry lobbyists have little sway. Local champions have largely driven this movement in non-preempted states. Constituents are an impetus for change at the community and statewide levels.

Recent Updates

  • 3/2019 – Edwardsville passes a Tobacco 21 law! There are now 22 local T21 policies representing 27.4% of the state population.

  • 9/27/2018 – Douglas County passes a Tobacco 21 law! (effective 30 days after publication, likely October, 2018)

  • 6/16/2018 – Holcomb passes a Tobacco 21 law! (effective 6/2018)

  • 4/2/2018 – Parsons becomes the 20th Kansas locality to adopt Tobacco 21 (effective April 2018)

  • 12/5/2017 – Topeka becomes the 19th Kansas locality to adopt Tobacco 21 (injunction placed on ordinance until Feb. 1 hearing) It is our opinion, given the 18 localities that have already reviewed state statute concerning Preemption and Kansas Home Rule, that localities have the authority to adopt T21 ordinances.

  • 8/10/2017 – Shawnee County (unincorporated) becomes the 18th Kansas locality to adopt Tobacco 21

  • 7/1/2017 – Johnson County (unincorporated) becomes the 17th Kansas locality to adopt Tobacco 21

  • 7/1/2017 – Garden City becomes 16th locality in Kansas to adopt Tobacco 21

  • 1/1/2017 – Merriam becomes 15th locality in Kansas to adopt Tobacco 21

  • 1/1/2017 – Leawood becomes 14th locality in Kansas to adopt Tobacco 21

Show All Updates

Additional Information

Tobacco 21 in Kansas PDF map

For More Information, Please Contact:

  • Scott Hall
  • Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
  • Senior Vice President, Civic and Community Initiatives
  • Hall@Kcchamber.Com

Local Partners:

  • Scott Hall
  • Senior Vice President, Civic and Community Initiatives
  • Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
  • Kansas Tobacco 21 Local Partner

Other Helpful Resources:

Tobacco Free Kids Kansas

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco.

American Lung Association State Report Card

The ALA ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report tracks progress on key tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels, and assigns grades based on tobacco control laws and regulations in effect as of January 2, 2014.

SLATI State Information Kansas

SLATI (State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues) is an extensively researched and invaluable source of information on tobacco control laws and policy, and is the only up-to-date and comprehensive summary of state tobacco control laws.

The Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation and the Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids support these four principles for Tobacco 21 ordinances:

  1. Include all tobacco and nicotine products, specifically e-cigarettes. The only exceptions would be FDA recognized nicotine replacement products (gum, patch, etc.) intended for cessation.
  2. Include significant enforcement provisions against illegal sales as research shows that consistent enforcement is of critical importance.
  3. Not include any pre-emption against local authority in more stringent regulation of tobacco or other nicotine product sales, secondhand smoke, or e-cigarette vapor.
  4. Ideally not include possession, usage, or purchase (PUP) penalties that result in criminal records, and instead place the onus on the purveyors of these addictive products.

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