(New Philadelphia, Ohio) – The Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition is reminding the public that as of Thursday, October 17th, the legal age to purchase tobacco products is 21.
Ohio’s new Tobacco 21 law takes effect Thursday following a monthlong rollout of the new law signed by Governor Mike DeWine back in July.
“Research shows that most adults who currently smoke picked up the habit before they turned 21,” explained ADC Coordinator, Jodi Salvo. “This law is another step in our efforts to encourage our youth to make healthy choices through prevention and education.”
As part of the new law, retailers are now required to post signage indicating that it is illegal to sell tobacco and alternative nicotine products to anyone under 21 years of age. Products covered by the new law include cigarettes; electronic smoking devices such as vapes, e-cigarettes and tanks; Juuls; cigars; pipe tobacco; chewing tobacco; snuff; snus; dissolvable nicotine products; filters; rolling papers; pipes; blunts; or hemp wraps; liquids used in electronic smoking devices; whether or not they contain nicotine; and vapor products – any component, part, or additive that is intended for use in an electronic smoking device, a mechanical heating element, battery, or electronic circuit and is used to deliver the product.
Anyone who sells tobacco and/or alternative nicotine products to someone under 21, including the clerk and the owner of the establishment, can face criminal penalties that become stricter after the first violation under the law.
First-time offenders can face a misdemeanor of the fourth degree and the offender is subject to no more than 30 days in jail and a fine up to $250. The retail establishment is subject to a fine of $2,000.
The following data was obtained from the 2018 Tuscarawas County Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), which provides an overview of health-related data for Tuscarawas County adults ages 19 and older and youth ages 12-18 who participated in a county-wide health assessment from January-May 2018.
- 5% of Tuscarawas County youth were identified as current smokers increasing to 12% of those ages 17 and older.
- The most common forms of tobacco products used were e-cigarettes/vapes/juuls, followed by cigarettes, black and milds, and chewing tobacco.
- More than half (55%) of youth reported being exposed to secondhand smoke.
- 63% of youth identified as current smokers were also current drinkers.
More information about youth tobacco use and statistics visit adctusc.org.