Michigan State Senator Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, thinks that cities and towns have taken too much of the law into their own hands when it comes to increasing the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, and he has introduced a bill into the state legislature to put a stop to it.
On Thursday, Jones introduced SB 1066, which would preempt local municipalities from imposing a conflicting, different or additional requirement or prohibition on purchasing tobacco from that which is currently set at the state level. In Michigan, a person must be at least 18 years old to purchase tobacco products.
It was Ann Arbor’s recent increase of the age to purchase tobacco products that seems to have sparked Jones’ bill. “This local law will do absolutely nothing to stop people from smoking; they will simply drive just outside the city and purchase what they want,” said Jones in a statement. “However, it will really harm the owners of small mom and pop stores and gas stations in the city who are just trying to make a living.”
Ann Arbor was the first city in Michigan to pass such an increase; it takes effect on Jan. 1, 2017. It is not part of the 24th legislative district that Jones represents, however.
Jones’ bill has been referred to the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee.