Columbus continues to push for age increase for tobacco sales

(AP file photo/Mark Lennihan)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The city of Columbus will continue to push for the ban of tobacco sales to youth under the age of 21.

The Columbus Board of Health unanimously voted to approve a resolution supporting the Tobacco 21 initiative.

In Ohio, 25% of kids use some form of tobacco. Those in support of Tobacco 21 hope to lower that number even more by changing tobacco sales laws. Columbus is close to joining several other cities across Central Ohio limiting the sale age of tobacco.

“We know that 95-percent of people start smoking before the age of 21,” Rob Crane M.D., President of Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation.  “As brain matures there are much more likely to engage in this life alone deadly have been.”

In front of city Board of Health members, supporters of the Tobacco 21 law outlined the key components in making this initiative successful.

“Our goal is not to fine businesses, said Jose Rodriguez, with Columbus Public Health. “Our goal is to get them to comply and fallow the new law once it’s been passed.”

Under the proposal, more than 2,000 tobacco retailers in the city will be required to purchase a yearly license for $150.

Stores that sell to anyone younger than 21 could face a fine up to $500 for a first offense, or $1,000 if caught a second time.

“A Youth Buy Program is really important in making sure that businesses are complying with the law,” said Rodriguez.

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