Newton raises minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21

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If you want to buy tobacco products in Newton, Kansas, you'll have to be at least 21 years old starting next year.

The Newton City Commission on Tuesday approved a T21 ordinance, which raises the minimum age to 21 to purchase tobacco products. It goes into effect on January 1, 2020. 

All tobacco products are covered in the ordinance, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, etc. Newton was the 500th city in the nation to adopt T21.

Tobacco retailers will be required to obtain an annual license for each sales location, with an annual fee of $400. The city said in a news released that the fee is designed to offset the costs of administering the ordinance and conducting compliance checks.

"The change in the minimum age had been requested this summer by student members of STAND, a youth leadership initiative of Mirror Inc. and the Tobacco Leadership Team," the release says.

The students said they hoped to reduce the widespread use of e-cigarettes among their peers. Newton Medical Center CEO Vallerie Gleason also advocated for the ordinance on behalf of the health care community.

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