New Arkansas state tobacco law and Harrison law confusing to some

HARRISON, Ark. Last year the group Boone County Ignite persuaded Harrison city council to make it illegal to purchase tobacco or vape products in city limits if you're under 21.

The ordinance went into effect January 1 of this year.

Some people were less than thrilled.

"Once you're 18 years old, you're considered a legal adult. You should be able to do what you want to," said Aaron Cunningham at the time.

But the teenagers with Ignite disagree.

"These people at our school are obviously our peers," said Alathea Bright, with Ignite last year. "They're our generation, and we can see them potentially ruining their lives with these addictive substances."

And recently the state also took action.

"We were very excited to hear that that was happening because it was a big deal. That was one of our goals, to pass it through the state," Bright said.

But the city law and the state law are different.

The state law is gradually moving the age to buy and use tobacco and vapor products to 21 over the next couple of years.

The city law changed the age to 21 immediately at the start of the year.

And the city law is only toward people who buy tobacco and vapor products, not for people who use them.

Another difference is the state law exempts people with a military ID. But there are no exemptions for the Harrison city ordinance.

"When we learned the state had a different law than us, it was brought to our attention by a local retailer. And it's confusing," said Harrison Mayor Jerry Jackson.

City council plans to have a discussion with Ignite about the differences on Thursday.

"I think the military should be considered," Jackson said. "For somebody to serve in the military at 17, 18, 19, 20 and not be able to buy tobacco, probably a majority of the council would like to see."

But Ignite plans to stand its ground on the city's ordinance.