The tobacco purchase age increase that was supposed to have gone into effect in Topeka, Kan. is now indefinitely on hold after a Shawnee County judge ruled it overreached the powers granted to cities by the Kansas constitution.
The increase was passed in December 2017, only to be challenged in court just about a month later by DWAGFYS Manufacturing, Inc., which operates a pair of e-cigarette retailers, The Vape Bar and Puffs-N-Stuff, while getting legal support from the Kansas Vaping Association. Shawnee County District Judge Franklin Theis issued a temporary injunction against the increase which prevented it from going into effect on its scheduled date of Jan. 11.
On Thursday, Judge Theis issued a permanent injunction against the increase, according to a report from CJOnline.com. According to the report, Theis said that the Kansas Cigarette and Tobacco Products Act has what he referred to as “bright-lines” for enforcement. “Clearly, one of the principal, if not the principal, bright-line for operation of the Act is designed around the distinction between adults and minors, setting that bright-line at 18 years of age for participation in all aspects of selling or using the products it regulates,” the judge opined.
He went on to say that it was unlikely that the state government had intended for municipal intrusion into its operation.
While Topeka’s increase is on hold, a similar increase was passed in the unincorporated parts of Shawnee County, as well as in a number of other Kansas cities, including Kansas City, Garden City, Westwood, Leawood, Leavenworth, Overland Park, Bonner Springs, Prairie Village, Iola and Olathe.