The Topeka City Council plans Nov. 21 to talk about snuffing out the ability for people ages 18 to 20 to legally buy tobacco products within city limits.
The council plans at its 6 p.m. meeting in its chambers at 214 S.E. 8th to discuss a proposed local amendment to the city-adopted Uniform Public Offense Code, according to the agenda for that meeting, which was made public Thursday on the city website. No action regarding the matter is planned that day.
The proposed amendment would ban the sale or furnishing of cigarettes and other tobacco-related products to adults between the ages of 18 and 20, the agenda said.
A document in the agenda packet said the Shawnee County health department asked the city to enact an ordinance similar to a recently approved Shawnee County resolution banning the sale or furnishing of cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, tobacco products and liquid nicotine in the county’s unincorporated areas to adults between the ages of 18 and 20.
“Conviction would be a Class B misdemeanor with a minimum fine of $200,” the document said, adding that retailers would have a defense to prosecution if they could prove the buyer showed identification indicating he or she was 21 or older.
The city now bans the sale or furnishing of cigarettes, electronic cigarettes and tobacco products only to those under the age of 18.
“Currently, there are approximately 30 active tobacco novelty licenses issued within the city limits,” the document said.
It indicated the city staff was making no recommendation on whether the proposal should be approved, “as this is a policy decision to be made by the governing body.”
Shawnee County commissioners on Aug. 10 voted 2-1 to approve a resolution banning the sale or furnishing of cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, tobacco products or liquid nicotine to anyone under 21 in those areas. Commissioners Bob Archer and Shelly Buhler voted in the majority, while Commissioner Kevin Cook dissented.
The county resolution doesn’t ban the possession of tobacco products by those who are younger than 21. It holds retailers responsible for violations committed by employees who provide tobacco-related products to those who are underage.
Shawnee County previously had no resolutions regulating tobacco sales by age as it enforced Kansas statute 33-7799, which bans the public from selling or furnishing tobacco products to anyone younger than 18 years old.
Contact reporter Tim Hrenchir at (785) 295-1184 or @timhrenchir on Twitter.