The Kansas Senate passed House Bill 2269, 28-11, which will raise the minimum tobacco purchasing age in the state to 21 from 18, reports ksnt.com. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.
The bill would bring Kansas into compliance with federal law, making it illegal for a retailer to sell tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes and cigarettes, to anyone under the age of 21.
Representative Tom Kessler, a Republican from Wichita who carried the bill, said the state could lose funding from the federal government if the legislation is not enacted. “We do stand to lose a little bit of funding if we don’t conform with federal law,” Kessler said. “We’re going to lose about $1.2 million of funding if we don’t make this transition within the window that the feds allowed us to.”
Representative John Eplee said that some retailers in the state have moved toward federal compliance but others have not, making federal law harder to enforce. “Most vendors have already complied with this, but are not required to, and it makes enforcement ‘herky jerky’ in our state,” Eplee said. “Forty-six other states have already fallen into compliance … we’re just asking Kansas to do the same thing.”