Businesses fear big losses with both KCMO and KCK raising smoking age to 21

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Some local businesses fear a newly passed city ordinance will force them out of business. Kansas City Council and The Unified Government of Wyandotte County both voted to raise the legal age for buying tobacco to 21 from 18 Thursday night.

"We are going to go ahead and see what we are going to do with that new ordinance and how we are going to do business," said Firas Haha, the owner of Ali Baba Hookah Lounge in Midtown Kansas City, Mo.

Haha, who has owned his business for four years, said he fears he might go out of business within a few months. He said 75 percent of his customers are under the age of 21.

"It's going to be a big loss," he told FOX 4.

Down the street, at It's a Dream Smoke Shop, managers said they are upset with the decision, even though they don't think it will hurt business.

"If they had put it out on a ballot and everyone go vote on it, well then it would be fine." said manager Adam Hoelscher. "The people would have spoken and this is what we would have chosen to do but instead it is 13 people who apparently have an issue with people smoking."

Haha said he has a meeting with the city on Monday. He said he plans to propose to only provide tabacco in the basement lounge, in hopes that people under the age of 21 could still hang out upstairs.

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