Merriam City Council declines to act on raising minimum age for tobacco purchases

An attempt by Merriam councilor Al Frisby to get his city to follow Prairie Village in drafting an ordinance to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco did not win the support of his fellow council members.

Frisby, a retired high school biology teacher and reformed smoker, said “peer pressure is strong and powerful; that’s how I started smoking.” Frisby recounted his work as a teacher to keep students from smoking. “I want to follow Prairie Village’s lead.”

Other Merriam councilors, though, want the state to take the lead on moving the age limit up. “If the state makes an ordinance, I would be happy to go along with it,” said Councilor Jim Wymer. Robert Weems, who is a nurse, also called for the state to go first. “As a nurse, I do see the end-game in smoking. Raising the age would be a good thing, but we need to wait until the state does it.”

(Read more: Prairie Village Post)

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