A proposed ordinance that would raise the minimum age for purchasing cigarettes in the city of Leavenworth has cleared one hurdle to advance for a future vote.

A proposed ordinance that would raise the minimum age for purchasing cigarettes in the city of Leavenworth has cleared one hurdle to advance for a future vote.

A majority of commissioners reached a consensus Tuesday to advance the ordinance. City Manager Paul Kramer said the proposed ordinance will be brought back to the commission during a June 14 meeting for a formal vote.

If approved, the ordinance will increase the minimum age for purchasing cigarettes and other tobacco products in the city from 18 to 21.

Commissioners considered such an ordinance earlier this year. But during a March 1 meeting, there was not enough support to advance the proposal.

Commissioners agreed to revisit the issue earlier this month after Mayor Larry Dedeke received a letter from Lansing officials. In the letter, the Lansing officials asked the Leavenworth City Commission to reconsider the tobacco age issue.

In April, the Lansing City Council approved its own ordinance to raise the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products to 21.

There is a national initiative in support of increasing the minimum age called Tobacco 21.

When determining Tuesday whether there was a consensus to move forward with Leavenworth's proposed ordinance, Dedeke asked commissioners to raise their hands if they wanted to advance the measure.

Three commissioners, Mark Preisinger, Nancy Bauder and Lisa Weakley, raised their hands. The commission is a five-member body.

Dedeke said the ordinance will move forward.

Preisinger said he feels such ordinances should not be allowed to die without a vote. He said each commissioners should stand up to be counted on the issue.

"To me, it's a public health issue," Weakley said.

Bauder said she has heard a lot more positive comments about the proposal in the last couple of weeks than negative comments.

She said seven of eight members of the city's Youth Advisory Commission voiced support for the ordinance.

Commissioner Charles Raney voiced strong opposition to the ordinance.

Raney said an 18-year-old can run for the Leavenworth City Commission.

He said someone who is old enough to be mayor could be prevented from purchasing tobacco products if the ordinance is approved.

"We are talking about adults," he said.

When asked about his opinion on the issue, Dedeke said he agreed with much of what Raney had said.

"I think it is an overreach by the government to do this," he said.

He said 18-year-olds have to register for selective service, and they can put their lives on the line in military service.

Several members of the audience offered comments about the issue.

Jeff Dedeke, who is the son of the mayor, said society and courts have determined that people are adults at the age of 18.

He said the ordinance would make it illegal for people between the ages of 18-20 to purchase tobacco products. But it would not make it illegal for them to possess these products.

He questioned how the ordinance can be enforced.

Scott Hall acknowledged that there has been profound success over the years in reducing smoking. But he said tobacco use among young people is holding steady because of electronic cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products.

Hall is the vice president for strategic initiatives for the Greater Kansas City Area Chamber of Commerce, which is supportive of the Tobacco 21 initiative.

Kevin Walker with the American Heart Association said the ordinance would cut off the social supply chain of tobacco products for children who are under the age of 18.

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