Cigarette buying age increase discussed in Shawnee County

Cigarette (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – The Shawnee County commission chairman is pushing for an increase in the minimum age at which people can legally buy cigarettes from 18 to 21.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Bob Archer called for the change Monday. No formal proposal has been put before the commission.

County health officer Gianfranco Pezzino stressed that the county commission is legally empowered to increase the minimum cigarette purchase age only in the county’s unincorporated areas, where the presence of outlets that sell cigarettes is minimal.

Imposing such a restriction in Topeka and the county’s four other incorporated areas would require the approval of their governing bodies.

Archer said he thought the county government should nevertheless take the lead. Similar policies already are in place in more than 200 municipalities and two states.