Bill Would Ban Ann Arbor's Ban on Young Adult Tobacco Sales

Local governments 'out of control' and 'off the leash' with growing business regulations

A state senator wants the Legislature to prohibit the city of Ann Arbor or any other local government from upping the legal age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21. Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, has introduced Senate Bill 1066 to pre-empt local governments from imposing age limits on legal tobacco sales different from the age prescribed by state law (which is 18).

“This local law will do absolutely nothing to stop people from smoking; they will simply drive just outside the city and purchase what they want,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge, in a press release. “However, it will really harm the owners of small mom and pop stores and gas stations in the city who are just trying to make a living.” 

Charles Owens, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said his trade association would support Jones’ bill.

“Local governments are totally out of control and totally off the leash when it comes to regulations,” Owens said. “If you consider that there is already federal and state regulations dealing with tobacco, this is a clear duplication of regulation and an overreach by local government.”

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 The Ann Arbor City Council approved the ordinance in August and became the first municipality in the state to make the legal age 21 to purchase tobacco products. The ordinance takes effect Jan. 1.

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