Another city in Missouri has signed on to the movement to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21, as the Liberty City Council approved an ordinance on Monday night to increase the purchasing age to 21-years-old.
The council voted 5-3 in favor of the ordinance, which goes into effect immediately according to the version that the city posted on its website. The increase also applies to the sale of vapor and alternative nicotine delivery products, and restricts the sale of tobacco paraphernalia to retail tobacco stores.
Councilman Paul Jeness was one of the most outspoken opponents of the increase, calling it another example of government overreach, saying that if a person is old enough to vote for the president or serve in the military, they should be allowed to buy tobacco, even as he derided the use of cigarettes. “Who in the world are we to limit the sales of a legal product to people can serve this country and exercise their right to vote?” he asked before votes were cast. He added that he thought this was government sticking its nose in people’s business and telling them how to live their lives. He was supported in opposition of the increase by council members Jeff Watt and Rae Moore.
Retailers violating the new law will be subject to a minimum fine of $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second offense and $500 for third and subsequent offenses.
More than a dozen cities in the Kansas City metropolitan area have passed similar increases, including and Gladstone, Independence, Bonner Springs, Leavenworth, Leawood, Olathe, Overland Park, Prairie Village, Westwood Hills, Westwood and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kan. and Kansas City, Mo.
The council also voted to modify its existing smoking ban for public places to include e-cigarettes and similar devices,
Liberty is home to approximately 30,000 residents and is located 15 miles northeast of Kansas City.