Cleveland leaders consider going smoke-free

Cleveland leaders consider going smoke-free
City Council voted to raise the age of purchasing tobacco products (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland could go smoke free.

It's the hot topic taken up by city leaders. The council's Health and Human Services Committee held a meeting Monday to talk about the possibility that the city would only hire non-smokers and offer smoking cessation programs to current city workers.

"When I was in college I used to smoke in my early twenties and I realized when I was out on a hike I couldn't breathe," says Cleveland City Council member Joe Cimperman.

Cimperman is behind the resolution to have a tobacco free workplace and create a special committee by the new year.

"To insure a smoker is $5,500 more than it is to insure a non-smoker," Cimperman explained.

But it doesn't end there. Cimperman also wants an ordinance to raise the legal age to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21 years old.

He also wants to ban flavored tobacco products except in retail tobacco stores.

"We have way too many, way too young, way below the age of 18 people smoking in the city of Cleveland who are then turning into smokers for life and we don't need that," Cimperman says.

Jerry Carubia quit smoking to get a job, but says he's not completely on-board with the proposal.

"By in large I believe in freedom of choice. I do understand the health insurance cost of it," Carubia says.

"It's a choice. Obviously people make that choice. It's legal to do. Personally I don't do it," says Troy Jordan.

Councilman Cimperman says he hopes to have the two ordinances passed within the next few weeks.

He would like the city of Cleveland workforce to be smoke-free by 2017 into 2018.

Copyright 2015 WOIO. All rights reserved.