Cities Consider Increasing Legal Age to Purchase Tobacco Products

Cities Consider Increasing Legal Age to Purchase Tobacco Products (Image 1)

Three central Ohio communities are considering increasing the age at which adults are allowed to buy cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products.

Upper Arlington is considering raising the legal age limit to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products to 21, said Kip Greenhill. 

“We were one of the first communities to ban indoor smoking. We were the first community in the state to put restrictions on e-cigarettes and this really I think is the logical next step,” Greenhill said. 

City leaders in New Albany and Bexley are also considering similar ordinances according to Doctor Rob Crane, an associate professor at The Ohio State University.

Crane says at least 70 other cities including places in Alabama, Utah, and New Jersey have already increased the legal age limit to purchase tobacco products.

“Kids are using e-cigarettes in tremendous numbers,” he said.

He also says many times it is the younger smokers under 20 who help provide children with tobacco products.

To try and curb tobacco use by young Ohioans, Crane and Greenhill are working on “Age 21.”

It is an initiative born out of the Smoke-Free Columbus Campaign that pushes for cities to push back the legal age when adults can purchase tobacco products

“The surgeon general says about 5.6 million kids currently alive today will die from cigarette smoking prematurely unless we do something different,” Crane said.

“I think it is a real issue and it’s not something they necessarily have a choice in because once they start so many of them become addicted and it’s really hard to break that addiction,” added Greenhill.

At Barclay Pipe Tobacco and Cigar in Upper Arlington, the co-owner didn’t want to comment on the issue but shared that most of his clients are already over 21 and said the ordinance would not have a big impact on his business.

Upper Arlington will discuss the ordinance at Tuesday night’s 7:30 p.m. city council meeting.

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