Tobacco21

Tobacco puts the health of our kids at risk.

  • Of the 929 high school graduates in Douglas County in 2016, almost one-fourth have tried tobacco products, and about 140 are (or will become) regular users. Forty-six are likely to die of a tobacco-related illness. 
  • Until the human brain is “fully wired” at the age of 25, it is especially vulnerable to nicotine.

“I started smoking before 18, and if I would have waited ’til I was 21 and it was harder to get or something, maybe I wouldn’t have. I wish I would have never started smoking.” 


Vincent Billam, Olathe resident, interviewed on KMBC 9 News


Tobacco21 has broad, growing support.


The Douglas County Commission was the first governing body in the county to pass Tobacco 21 legislation in 2018 when it passed a resolution to raise the minimum age to 21 to purchase tobacco products in unincorporated parts of the county. The Kansas Supreme Court in 2019 ruling also found local governments had the right to pass an implement Tobacco 21 legislation.

“I'm glad the resolution will remain in place and continue to help protect the health of our youth.” 


– 
Michelle Derusseau, Douglas County Commission Chair




Tobacco21 has broad, growing support.

  • Three out of four adults (including 70 percent of smokers and 61 percent of people 18-20) support raising the legal age.
  • More than 290 municipalities and five states have raised the age to sell and/or purchase tobacco to 21. Many municipalities in the region have passed laws, with others planning to follow suit.
Eighteen-year-olds cannot buy alcohol, rent a car or gamble in a casino. The minimum age for military service does not equal readiness to enlist in a lifetime of smoking.

Tobacco21 will protect the health of our children.


  • Nine out of 10 smokers start before age 21. Those who make it to 21 without smoking are unlikely to start.
  • Many teens get tobacco from 18- to 20-year-old friends. Raising the legal age cuts off the “social supply chain” to underage youth.
It is time to raise the sales and purchase age of tobacco
and nicotine products to 21 years of age.

The LiveWell Douglas County Tobacco-Free Living Work Group, with support from the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, is asking businesses, organizations and individuals to endorse the Tobacco21 initiative in Douglas County. 

If you are interested in supporting the Tobacco21 initiative in Douglas County, email tobacco21@livewelllawrence.org or call 785-843-3060.