Judge blocks Topeka tobacco sales ordinance

Published: Mar. 22, 2018 at 7:48 PM CDT
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A Shawnee Co. judge issued an order Thursday, preventing the city of Topeka from enforcing an ordinance on the sale of tobacco products.

The council approved the ordinance last December. It raised the legal age to buy tobacco products - including cigarettes, chew and e-cigarettes - from 18 to 21. People ages 18 to 20 were still able to use the products.

Two Topeka businesses challenged the ordinance, saying it conflicts with state law.

Judge Franklin Theis agreed, stating, "the Ordinance unconstitutionally conflict(s) with a uniform state statute applicable to all cities."

"(A)s Plaintiffs have established the potential of real injury, that the harm to them exceeds that to the public interest....and that certainly no other remedy exists for them but to first suffer the harm, Ordinance No. 20099 of the City of Topeka should be, and is, permanently enjoined from enforcement," Theis wrote.

Deputy city manager Doug Gerber told 13 NEWS the city is weighing its next move.

"We are reviewing the decision and will evaluate our options as to how we can best proceed," he said.

Theis did reject the businesses' request to oust the City from any authority over their businesses or products, saying he could not rule out the possibility that some future local ordinance could be compatible with state law.