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Schuette says cities can’t pre-empt the "age of majority" when selling tobacco

Feb 3, 2017

Credit Flickr user lanier67 / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Cities cannot refuse to sell tobacco products to people between the ages of 18 and 20. That’s coming from state Attorney General Bill Schuette who issued an opinion today.

State Senator Rick Jones asked the Attorney General for the opinion. He says he got a lot of calls about the ordinance from concerned constituents.

“It wasn’t going to stop anybody from smoking because the 18, 19, 20-year olds could simply drive a block or two, get out of the city and buy all they wanted. So the only people that were being hurt were the mom and pop stores that were just trying to make a living,” he says.

Last July, the city of Ann Arbor passed an ordinance forbidding the sale of tobacco to anyone under the age of 21.

Andrea Bitely is with the Attorney General’s office.

“This isn’t because he wants 18-year-olds to smoke, it’s because this is what state law says. And it says at the age of 18 you’re permitted to do things like purchase cigarettes, purchase tobacco products, buy a lottery ticket, do all sorts of things when you turn 18," she says.

In his opinion, Attorney General Bill Schuette says the ordinance is contrary to the Age of Majority Act, which says anyone 18 years old or older is considered a legal adult.

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