Kansas physician, legislator want to raise tobacco age limit to 21

Kansas lawmakers are hesitant to increase the standard from the current age of 18. A physician said he's surprised by the pushback.


State News

February 10, 2023 - 3:46 PM

Physician and state Rep. John Eplee, center, asked the House Federal and State Affairs Committee to support raising the age to purchase, possess or consume tobacco products in Kansas from 18 to 21. The change would comply with federal law. Photo by (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Physician John Eplee hasn’t accepted hesitancy of Kansas lawmakers to raise the threshold for purchase, possession and consumption of cigarettes to 21 years of age from the current standard of 18.

Eplee, who also serves as a Republican state representative from Atchison, said Thursday he was convinced financial and health arguments for the higher age were persuasive enough to keep pushing for adoption of House Bill 2269. He said many of his patients, as well as his parents in their mid-70s, succumbed to tobacco-related diseases. If he were king for a day, Eplee said he would impose a permanent ban on tobacco for all ages.

Still, Eplee told the House Federal and State Affairs Committee that he recognized some in the Capitol remained unconvinced despite his years of advocacy.

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