The process of raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21-years-old in Topeka, Kan. will soon be adding another chapter, as on Tuesday night the Topeka City Council voted to move forward with an appeal to a judge’s ruling that barred them from enacting the increase.
The council initially approved the increase 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. The increase was prevented from going into effect on its scheduled date of Jan. 11 after Shawnee County District Judge Franklin Theis issued a temporary injunction.
On March 22, Judge Theis issued a permanent injunction against the increase, saying 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 added that it was unlikely that the state government had intended for municipal intrusion into its operation.
The city council believes its increase has merit, voting 7-2 with one member abstaining to move forward with an appeal of Judge Theis’ ruling. The council said that the matter raised concerns for both public health and the city’s home rule authority, according to a report by WIBW.com.