TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is moving to increase its legal age for buying cigarettes, electronic cigarettes and other tobacco products to 21 from 18 after the federal government and most other states already have done it.
The state Senate approved a bill to raise the age Tuesday on a 28-11 vote, sending it Gov. Laura Kelly. The House had approved it earlier this month on a 68-53 vote.
Kelly has not said whether she will sign the bill, but officials with the state Department of Revenue and the Department for Aging and Disability Services supported the measure. Public health officials believe raising the age to purchase tobacco products will reduce their use and the resulting health care costs.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death, disease and disability in the U.S. and nine out of 10 adults who smoke started by age 18.
Forty-one other states have increased their legal age to 21, including the tobacco-producing states of Kentucky and Virginia. The federal government raised its age to 21 in 2019 and told states they’d have to enforce the higher age to receive federal funds for substance abuse programs.