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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

St. Louis County Outlaws Sale of Cigarettes, E-Cigs to People Under 21

Posted By on Wed, Sep 7, 2016 at 9:21 AM

click to enlarge E-cigarettes will now be illegal for teens to purchase in St. Louis County. - SHUTTERSTOCK/OLEG BALIUK
  • E-cigarettes will now be illegal for teens to purchase in St. Louis County.

As of this December, only people 21 and older will be allowed to purchase tobacco products and e-cigarettes in St. Louis County.

The county council voted Tuesday night to raise the buying age from eighteen years old as part of a nationwide campaign by doctors, public health advocates and policy makers to cut back on smoking, especially in teens.

Council Vice-Chair Sam Page, a physician, introduced the so-called Tobacco 21 proposal two weeks ago. St. Louis vape shop owners and their customers fought the change, arguing there was no reason to include e-cigarettes.

Vaping has helped thousands of people quit smoking, including teens and twenty-year-olds who will now be blocked from buying e-cigarettes in the county, they argued.

However, physicians and representatives from organizations, such as the American Heart Association, fought to move the law forward as it was written. They claimed that vaping can and has led teens to smoking tobacco. 

St. Louis County is now one of more than 190 cities, including Columbia and parts of the Kansas City metro, to pass Tobacco 21 legislation. The new rules take effect on December 1.

St. Louis city Mayor Francis Slay has said he'd support a similar law if the county law passed. On social media last night after the county vote, vaping advocates promised to fight to keep that from happening. 

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at or follow on Twitter at @DoyleMurphy.

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