Smoking ordinance takes effect immediately
COLUMBIA - Local tobacco sellers have to be more mindful to whom they sell their products.
The new ordinance, which raised the minimum age of purchasing tobacco to 21, went into effect Tuesday.
The city of Columbia passed the ordinance Monday night 6-1.
While Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for informing retailers of the new rules, Columbia Police Department is responsible for enforcing them.
"We're going to work with the state and the state's contractors to identify retailers that will be impacted by the changes to the city ordinance," Health and Human Services public information officer Andrea Waner said.
According to state law, the seller will be penalized for selling tobacco products, not the customer.
A Columbia Police Department official said the department is still not sure how it will enforce the new ordinance.
[Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify the City Council raised the age limit to purchase tobacco and to fix spelling errors.]