Health Forward Foundation

Tobacco 21|KC policies spreading in Kansas, Missouri

The image above is dynamic; we will continue to update this map as communities continue to approve Tobacco 21|KC policies. So, while the content of this blog post will remain unchanged, the map will be current and available for download. Updated Aug. 28, 2018.

It’s been four months since Kansas City, Missouri, and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas, became the first cities in the metropolitan area to pass policies to increase the age of sale for tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Since then Gladstone and Independence, Missouri, and Olathe and Prairie Village, Kansas, have passed similar ordinances, with many other municipalities considering joining the list. This effort is thanks, in large part, to the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Tobacco 21|KC campaign, a part of the HealthyKC collaboration.

The health impact in these communities is enormous. The University of Kansas estimates that over the next 10 years, these Tobacco 21 policies will:

  • Prevent 12,330 youth in the Health Forward services area from becoming addicted to tobacco and nicotine products.
  • Result in 4,100 fewer smoking-related deaths in the Health Forward services.
  • Save area businesses $7.2 million in costs (total annual excess cost of a smoker to a private employers is $5,816).

Statistics are impressive. But for us, this testimonial given by an Olathe resident, Michelle Reeves, a former smoker who began smoking at the age of 13, really gets to the heart of why these policies are necessary.  It’s about keeping our communities healthy, and the people living in those communities, healthy.

The Health Forward Foundation is grateful to be a part of this collaboration and looks forward to continued partnerships with cities in our service area who are interested in improving health in their communities.

Editor’s note: The image above is dynamic; we will continue to update this map as communities continue to approve Tobacco 21|KC policies. So, while the content of this blog post will remain unchanged, the map will be current and available for download. 

Policy, Tobacco

3 thoughts on “Tobacco 21|KC policies spreading in Kansas, Missouri

    So pleased and proud that the Iola, Kansas city council voted in favor of adopting the Tobacco 21 policy.

    So if 18 year old individuals are not adult enough to decide weather to smoke or not, are we now in fact sending children to war? Where is the WAR 21 campaign?

    During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt lowered the minimum age for the military draft age to 18, at a time when the minimum voting age (as determined by the individual states) had historically been 21. “Old enough to fight, old enough to vote” became a common slogan for a youth voting rights movement, and in 1943 Georgia became the first state to lower its voting age in state and local elections from 21 to 18.

    The long debate over lowering the voting age in America from 21 to 18 began during World War II and intensified during the Vietnam War, when young men denied the right to vote were being conscripted to fight for their country. In the 1970 case Oregon v. Mitchell, a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress had the right to regulate the minimum age in federal elections, but not at the state and local level. Amid increasing support for a Constitutional amendment, Congress passed the 26th Amendment in March 1971; the states promptly ratified it, and President Richard M. Nixon signed it into law that July.

    The 2016 Youth Vote.
    According to our initial, post-election estimate, approximately 50% of eligible young people—about 24 million youth, ages 18-29—voted in the 2016 general election.

    You can change laws if you vote. My voters elected me; they can replace me in April if they don’t like Tobacco 21.

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Health Forward's Local Health Buzz Blog aims to discuss health and health policy issues that impact the uninsured and underserved in our service area. To submit a blog, please contact Health Forward Communications Officers, Jennifer Sykes, at

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