Youngstown considering passing ordinance raising age to buy tobacco

June 23, 2018 by  

Youngstown may enact a so-called Tobacco 21 ordinance that would raise the age when a person can legally purchase tobacco to 21.

Although the Tobacco 21 campaign started in 2015 in Ohio, the state still has no law regarding age restrictions on its purchase. The Tobacco 21 Movement is concerned because it has found the number of teens smoking in the state is higher than the average nationwide.

The Youngstown Health Commission recently met at city hall to discuss the options available to the city. Erin Bishop, the city’s health commissioner, said an 18-year-old who is caught smoking wouldn’t be in trouble; they just would not be able to buy tobacco legally. Bishop also said that the police would not have the power to enforce the ordinance if it passes, as this would be up to the health department.

Tobacco 21 is concerned because the rates of teen smoking had been dropping steadily, only to take an upturn in recent years. One study showed that teens tend to use tobacco in social settings, and borrow cigarettes from older people who buy them legally. Raising the age for these purchases tends to take the purchasers out of the younger person’s social circle, restricting tobacco use.

If Youngstown passes the ordinance, it will be the 11th city in the state to do so.

For important measures like this, officials might consider working with a flyer printing company to create a mailer for residents, discussing the issue.