Newton teens request to increase tobacco-buying age to 21

Local

NEWTON, Kan. (KSNW) – A group of teenagers went in front of Newton city commission on Tuesday evening to request to raise the tobacco-buying age from 18 to 21.

The measure is called a T21 ordinance. Communities such as Garden City, Holcomb and Topeka have one in place.

“Your mind isn’t fully-developed enough when you’re 18,” Harvey County STAND president Eli Redington said.

According to the Kansas Communities That Care Survey, in 2018, 5.16 percent of Harvey County youth reported using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days. This year, that number is up to 11.89 percent. Looking at high school seniors alone, that number jumps to 29.29 percent.

Several smoke shops in Newton did not want to go on camera but expressed that business would take a hit if the ordinance passed, specifically in their vape products.

The city is drafting an ordinance to be voted on in upcoming weeks.

Redington hopes the ordinance can be put in place to bind Newton over until the state signs something into law.

“This is going start an impact right now. I’ll still be able to see this when I’m in high school and that’s impressive. I want to be able to see this happen,” Redington said.

Redington was accompanied by speakers Savannah Hunsucker, Karly Green and Mallory Seirer at the meeting.

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