CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Gov. Mike DeWine hopes that by increasing the minimum age to purchase tobacco products in Ohio will cut down the amount of young smokers.
“Research indicates that approximately 95% of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21,” said the Republican governor. “Increasing the age to 21 will reduce the chances of our young people starting to smoke and becoming regular smokers.”
The increase in age from 18 to 21 years old goes into effect on Thursday, Oct. 17.
The change was approved by DeWine when he signed off on Ohio’s two-year budget plan in July. The age increase is estimated to result in the reduction of $17 million in 2020 and $22.7 million in 2021 for sales and tobacco tax collections in Ohio.
A 2015 report from the Institute of Medicine states that raising the tobacco sales age to 21 will likely prevent or delay tobacco use in adolescents and young adults, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
“Evidence suggests that nicotine use during adolescence and young adulthood has long-term impacts on brain development, and tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.,” said Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton. “Raising the sales age for tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21 means that those who can legally obtain these products are less likely to be in the same social networks as high school students.”
Products like cigarettes, rolling papers, vaping products, and chewing tobacco are affected by the change.
Retailers will be required to post new signage indicated that it is illegal to sell tobacco and nicotine products to anyone under the age of 21. Anybody who violates Ohio’s new law can face time in jail and a fine.
Resources are available to help quit the use of tobacco products. Call the Ohio Department of Health’s Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.