Kansas City health leaders urge cities to raise tobacco age to 21

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Kansas City business and health leaders announced on Thursday an initiative to convince elected officials in the dozens of municipalities throughout the Kansas City area to raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21.

The initiative, “Tobacco 21|KC,” is spearheaded by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City. The initiative aims to build on a movement in which nearly 100 communities around the country have made 21 the legal age for purchasing tobacco products. To date, nearly 101 organizations and individuals have endorsed Tobacco 21|KC.

“We’re asking cities around the Kansas City region to take action,” said Jim Heeter, President and CEO of the Chamber.

Earlier this year, the Institute of Medicine released a study estimating that Tobacco 21 would reduce smoking among 15 to 17-year-olds by 25 percent, and among 18 to 20-year olds by 15 percent. Meanwhile, the public support for Tobacco 21 is strong, with polls indicating that approximately 70 percent of the public favor the idea.

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