Despite a lawsuit filed against the City of Topeka after their passage of Tobacco 21, efforts continue unabated in KS. Douglas County commissioners recently held a hearing on the issue and appear poised to approve the measure soon. This would be the 22nd municipality in Kansas to pass the life-saving measure.
Tobacco 21, or T21 as it is more commonly known, raises the age to purchase tobacco products to 21 – just like alcohol – and has become a trend throughout the country. “The idea is to make it harder for youth to have access to tobacco products,” said Tracy Russell, Government Relations Director for Kansas. “
The American Heart Association joined a large number of other groups and recently filed a brief with the Supreme Court of Kansas in support of T21 and the City of Topeka’s authority to enact a local ordinance on T21. The City of Topeka filed an appeal against a recent judgment that blocked enactment of Topeka’s newly-passed ordinance.
A date for a hearing has not been set but it is expected the Supreme Court of Kansas will hear arguments later this year or very early next year. The American Heart Association will be monitoring this closely and firmly believes local municipalities in Kansas have the authority to enact T21 laws – an opinion shared by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt based on an opinion his office released at the request of lawmakers.