This story has been updated to say that the ordinances took effect immediately after the City Council passed them.
COLUMBIA — People younger than 21 will no longer be able to buy tobacco products within city limits.
The Columbia City Council voted 6-1 in favor of all three of First Ward Councilwoman Ginny Chadwick's proposals to raise the purchasing age for tobacco and electronic cigarettes and to prohibit smoking e-cigarettes in public buildings. Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser voted against all of the proposals, saying they infringed on individual choice.
The ordinances took effect immediately.
The council members who voted for the proposals said the public health benefit was overwhelming, as many smokers become addicted when they're teenagers or younger. Several offered stories from their own lives to illustrate their point.
Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala said when he served in the military his unit had two choices for rewards: a cigarette or writing home to their mothers. Not too many people chose the letter, he said, and he eventually developed a three-or-four-pack-a-day habit. He quit after his dad, also a smoker, died from complications related to lung disease.
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