Ohio Raises Smoking Age to 21
Recently, Governor Mike DeWine signed new legislation to raise the legal age in Ohio for purchasing and using tobacco. Historically, the legal age in Ohio to purchase and use tobacco products was eighteen years old. This new legislation increases this age to twenty-one years old and will come into effect October of 2019. While several cities in Ohio have already been following this increased age standard, this new law will apply state wide. Ohio is now the 13th state in the United States to increase the age to purchase and use tobacco to twenty-one in 2019. Overall eighteen states in the United Sates have made this age increase.
This legislation contained a clause proposing “grandfathering” in individuals who are already able to purchase and use tobacco products. This provision included those who are, or would be, 18 years or older on or before October 1, 2019. Governor DeWine vetoed this provision concluding that this would make it difficult on those who sell and distribute tobacco products. Under current Ohio law the sale or distribution of tobacco products to individuals under eighteen is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. A second violation under this law is considered a misdemeanor of the third degree.
This new law is an attempt by the government to combat the increased use of Juuls and other e-cigarettes by youth and increase overall health. The law goes even further than cigarettes and tobacco products to include: rolling papers, filters, wrappers, liquids, and other accessories involved with tobacco use and/or electronic cigarettes. Those attempting to purchase and/or use these products under the age of eighteen can face fines as a result of these actions. Other penalties under these laws include the seizure and forfeiture of the products as contraband. It is not yet clear as to whether these new changes to the law will affect the consequences of these actions or not.