Independence, Missouri, on Monday became the third major municipality in the Kansas City area to raise the legal age of sale for tobacco products to 21 from 18.
Following similar votes in the last two months by Kansas City, Missouri, and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas, the Independence City Council approved the measure by a 6-1 vote at a council meeting last night.
The vote was the latest victory for the Tobacco 21 | KC initiative, part of the Healthy KC campaign launched by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and scores of other organizations earlier this year.
The campaign aims to get the roughtly 100 municipalities in the Kansas City region to raise the legal age for buying tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, to 21.
Proponents say that keeping people from smoking at an early age should reduce the number of lifelong smokers. Studies show as many as 95 percent of adult smokers say they started smoking before the age 21.
Dan Margolies, editor of the Heartland Health Monitor team, is based at KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.