Jefferson City considering raising tobacco-purchase age to 21

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JEFFERSON CITY – The Jefferson City Council will vote whether to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco on Monday evening. The current minimum age is 18.

The age requirement would also apply to e-cigarettes and vapor products.

The proposed change is part of the Tobacco 21 movement. 

City council member Carlos Graham said the goal behind the change is to deter younger people from smoking.

“As we all know, sometimes bad habits are picked up at a younger age no matter how you look at it,” Graham said.

Graham also serves as the chair of public safety. His name is therefore shared as a sponsor for the bill.

“It’s all coming from a health standpoint for me,” he said.

Graham said he has seen support for the age requirement change from local hospitals, the Council for Drug-free Youth and Tobacco 21.

According to the Tobacco 21 website, "Missouri currently has an above average rate of high school and adult smoking."

Graham said he did not receive very much opposition from people he spoke with about the bill.

If approved, the council would set a date for the new requirement to go into effect. The city would be required to pay for signs notifying the public of the minimum age.

KOMU 8 contacted multiple tobacco shops in Jefferson City, but none that were contacted commented on the bill.