A Shawnee County judge has temporarily blocked an ordinance that forbids tobacco sales to people ages 18-20 from taking effect.
The temporary restraining order states there are “concerns regarding conflicts between the city ordinance in question and state law.”
Kansas law allows tobacco sales to those 18 and older. In December, the Topeka City Council approved a measure barring people under 21 from purchasing tobacco products. The ordinance was scheduled to take effect Thursday.
On Wednesday, two Topeka businesses, assisted by the Kansas Vapers Association, sued the city over the ordinance.
In certain circumstances, cities and counties can exercise home rule power to determine their local affairs, according to the Kansas Constitution. However, the plaintiffs’ lawsuit alleges the tobacco ordinance violates home rule because it conflicts with state law.
“This temporary order ensures economic harm does not come to numerous businesses in Topeka while the case is heard in court,” said Spencer Duncan, director of government affairs for the Kansas Vapers Association. “It guarantees the many adults who are 19 and 20 years old, and using e-cigarettes to get off and keep away from traditional tobacco habits, can continue to purchase the products they need.”
City spokeswoman Molly Hadfield said following the judge’s ruling that the ordinance wouldn’t be enforced.
“The City of Topeka is aware of the temporary injunction regarding the Tobacco 21 ordinance,” Hadfield said. “Notice is being issued to city employees that the ordinance is not to be enforced until the matter is resolved.”
A hearing on the temporary injunction is set for Feb. 1.