CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - If the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation had its way, Cape Girardeau would ban tobacco sales to anyone under 21-years-old.
According to city officials, that could be sooner rather than later.
Deputy City Manager, Molly Mehner, said the city council has directed staff to talk to other cities to see how it is working for them.
Eli Bohnert, an intern with the preventing tobacco addiction foundation, is the one who presented this initiative to the council.
“Kids in our schools are getting addicted to nicotine in a whole new way that we don’t know the long term effects of it yet," he said.
Bohnert said the numbers don’t lie and lives can be saved in Cape Girardeau.
“If the legal sale age was raised from 18 to 21 there would be around 200 lives of people that today are alive that are under 18 that would be saved cause they wouldn’t die of a preventable illness caused by a tobacco product," he said.
Robert Oseland who works at Smokers’ Outlet said most of their business come from people older than 21, so he doesn’t worry about their bottom line. He does understand that Smokers’ Outlet and any other retailers selling tobacco would be the ones in trouble if this ban were to pass.
“We are here to card and I.D. if we are not doing our job, we are responsible. That’s just the bottom line on that so we would be responsible for it. But as for as the younger group coming in here thinking they are gonna get away with it, that’s their fault on that part and don’t get mad when we have to turn you away," he said.
Bohnert said he wants to steer younger people away from what he calls the deadly addiction.
“We don’t want to punish kids. We don’t want to penalize them for possessing the product, for using the product or trying to purchase the project. All the penalty is, is on the retailers for selling a deadly addicted product to these kids,” he said.