Gardner’s council heard the pros and cons of raising the age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21 at their March 21 meeting.
Todd Winters, council vice-president, had requested that council examine the issue about a month ago, and HealthyKC, an organization in partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, brought six individual supporters of the Tobacco 21 KC effort to present the case to council.
“Our public enemy number one is the abuse of tobacco,” Roy Jensen, director, University of Kansas Cancer Center, and Gardner resident, told council.
Referring to Dr. Jensen’s use of the phrase “public enemy number one.” Lee Moore, council member, wondered what would be public enemy number two that council would next be asked to prohibit to citizens.
“One of the things that was really telling to me was when the young man stood up here and asked if we would please grant him his rights,” Moore said. ”It’s absurd to me. It’s offensive to me – that he would have the impression that my job up here is to grant him his rights. He was given those rights by virtue of his birth in this country. Period.”
This comment drew applause.
Steve Shute, council president, said that he had seen his parents die due to smoking and was well aware of the dangers, but could not support this prohibition type of move.
(Read more: Gardner News)