Just about a year since voting to increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 and three months since the change went into effect, the city of Healdsburg, Calif. is suspending that change to avoid possible a legal challenge from the tobacco industry.
The National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) has sent letters to the city protesting the change and claiming that cities lacked the authority to raise the minimum purchase age from what the state sets. A review by the city’s attorney suggested that they might in fact lose a legal challenge, which resulted in the law being suspended. While it remains on the books, Mayor Shaun McCaffrey has said it will not be enforced at least until the city gets a legal opinion from the state attorney general’s office on the legality of the increase, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Healdsburg is located in Sonoma County, 70 miles north of San Francisco, with a population of nearly 11,500 people.