The Eldon Board of Aldermen unanimously approved an ordinance that will make it tougher for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase, tobacco, tobacco-related products and electronic cigarette devices.

The Eldon Board of Aldermen unanimously approved an ordinance that will make it tougher for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase, tobacco, tobacco-related products and electronic cigarette devices.

The passage of the ordinance marked a big victory for supporters of the Tobacco 21 initiative in Miller County spearheaded by a group of young people, along with the health department.

Miller County Health Department Director Mike Herbert as well as Stan Cowan, Research Assistant from the University of Missouri Columbia School of Medicine, were in attendance to provide background information. The goal of the  of the initiative is to eliminate the pipeline of sales from 18 year olds to underclassmen of tobacco and vaping products.

Eldon will be the 454th community nationwide to adopt the Tobacco21 ordinance, and the 19th city statewide to raise the age to 21.  

Herbert said the move by Eldon is one he hopes other communities follow.The health department is planning on taking the  initiative to Lake Ozark and Iberia for consideration.

Herbert commended the city for being a statewide leader in community health concerns for their citizens.  Highlighting recent fitness additions to the Rock Island Park, and the future pathways of the Rock Island Trail groups efforts,

With no opposition and no discussion, the aldermen approved the ordinance.

Eldon High School alumni Katie Partridge, a senior medical diagnostic imaging student at the University of Missouri, Columbia, and Reese Henderson, a student at Eldon High School, were the first to propose the ordinance earlier this year to city officials.

Partridge said that based on what has taken place in other communities it usually six months for existing retailers in the city to have the new licensing in effect.

According to the Tobacco 21 initiative, Missouri currently has an above average rate of high school and adult smoking. These rates would eventually result in the premature death of 128,000 children now under the age of 18, with 3,100 children becoming daily smokers each year.




The direct health care costs of tobacco amount to $3.03 billion annually, and lost productivity due to smoking amounts to $3.04 billion. Despite this, the state only spends 3.0% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention. The state also has the lowest per pack tax in the nation, at $0.17.

There is no preemption language present in state law keeping localities from

raising the Minimum Legal Sales Age (MLSA) to 21. The state law permits

local governments to impose stricter regulations regarding youth access to

tobacco. Columbia became the first municipality in the state to raise their

tobacco and nicotine age to 21 in 2014.

•While smoking rates have declined in the United State, e-cigarette use has exploded since 2014, threatening to undo our progress.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has called youth use of e-cigarettes an epidemic and indicated that youth e-cigarette use is up 77% from last year.

On average, American kids try cigarettes for the first time at age 13.7.

The primary source of tobacco products for underage smokers are their 18 to 20 year old peers

When properly enforced, Tobacco 21 laws disrupt the social availability of cigarettes and other nicotine products to young people.