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Local doctor tests Tobacco 21 enforcement; says 9 stores sold to underage teen

A local doctor took research into his own hands when asking the Franklin County Board of Health to enforce city ordinance Tobacco 21.

“I don’t like surprising people like this, but I had to get their attention,” said Dr. Rob Crane, a family medicine physician for Ohio State. “I came to the same board meeting and made a presentation, down on one knee begging for their help and they ignored me.”

Tobacco 21 makes the legal age to purchase tobacco products 21 years of age in Bexley, Upper Arlington, New Albany, Grandview and Dublin.

Crane says he’s spent the last 16 months asking the Department to run youth-based stings as a way to see if retailers are following the law.

“They don’t want to be involved in stings. I’ve told them, this is not James Bond,” he said.
So, Crane worked with Christal Welch, a 19-year-old college student to see how many stores would sell to her.

Of the 18 stores they went to in the central Ohio area, nine sold to her overlooking her age or not checking ID.

“I was shocked,” Welch said. “Half the time they would ask ‘are you old enough?’, and I would say yes, but they didn’t ask for my ID. Other times, they would look at my ID that says I’ll be 21 in 2019, and they still sold it to me.”

Tuesday, Welch and Dr. Crane presented their findings to the Franklin County Board of Health.

Avon to consider raising minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21

AVON — The Avon Town Council will consider raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 on Tuesday, Aug. 14.

The issue is part of the Tobacco 21 Initiative, a nationwide effort aimed at making it more difficult for adults ages 18 to 20 to acquire tobacco and tobacco products.

Locally, the Tobacco 21 Initiative is being promoted by the Eagle River Youth Coalition, which has been working with Eagle County Public Health to educate town councils and community members about policy options related to the Tobacco 21 Initiative.

Youth Coalition Manager of Strategic Impact Mikayla Curtis told the council that the current perception among youth in the community is that tobacco products have become easier to access.

“If we could help to reduce that perception, our hope is that we’ll see use of those substances decline, as well,” Curtis said.

Six states have already raised the tobacco purchasing age to 21 — California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oregon, Hawaii and Maine — along with more than 340 localities, according to the website tobacco

Among those localities are Aspen and Basalt; Aspen was the first in the state to raise the age to purchase cigarettes.

“I was very impressed by the bold action Aspen took,” said Basalt Councilman Bernie Grauer, before voting in favor of the ordinance.

Carbondale is also considering a similar ordinance after the Board of Trustees attended an information session presented by Mandy Ivanov with Eagle County Public Health.

Paul’s Note

In anticipation of the work study session to discuss raising the tobacco legal sales age from 18 to 21, Tucson Councilman Cunningham articulated his support for the initiative:

“95% of smokers start before the age of 21, and a law like this will make it easier for high schools to keep tobacco out. Similar laws have been passed across the country, including two cities in Arizona (Douglas and Cottonwood). It is being considered in Tempe as well. It will be the law in Illinois should the governor sign the bill. If that happens, close to one third of people in the US will be living in areas covered by these laws.

The aim here is not to punish kids for buying cigarettes or even smoking, but to discourage retailers from selling cigarettes to people under 21. Because we already have systems in place to stop alcohol sales to people under 21 (our drivers’ licenses are designed for that), it will likely not be a burden on most retailers. It is actually a small percentage of sales over all (2% according to a Harvard study), but would have a big impact on future addictions.

Still, we have a lot to decide. For example, what mechanism will there be for enforcement? There is actually a city issued license for selling tobacco, but it is not something that has been enforced. If we put more of an emphasis on getting retailers to buy that license (they cost $100), we can put that towards enforcement. Either we can hire an officer to enforce the law, or compensate the county health department to do so. In Columbus, Ohio and St. Louis, Missouri, they have a special compliance officer who visits retailers twice a year.”

Councilman Cunningham further explains that the work study session was only the “start of the discussion” and that “the details, particularly enforcement, will have to be worked out.”

Finally, he noted that this movement is driven by youth, with the presentation given by local high school students.

“As a teacher, I see the challenges with fighting youth tobacco addiction every day. The growth of “vaping” has made tobacco use seem like something safe and the sticks that are used can look like a pen. There are new products like the JUUL that don’t look like you are smoking at all. Many of these products are subtly aimed at sales to young people to get them addicted. I’m for anything we can do as policy makers to make this as hard as possible.”

Tucson working ordinance to ban sale of tobacco, vaping products to anyone under 21 years old

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) –

The Tucson City Council will debate on an ordinance which would ban the sale of tobacco and vaping products to anyone under the age of 21.

“This is basically a deterrent,” said Ward II Council member Paul Cunningham, one of the sponsors of the proposed ordinance. “A prevention measure for kids starting at a young age.” Studies show most smokers start at a very young age especially when cigarettes are made readily available by someone 18 or over. High School seniors, who are legal to buy, often socialize with younger, underclassmen.  The Moon Smoke Shop of 4th Avenue, just down the street from Tucson High School, confirms that.

“A lot of them are seniors and they’re 18,” said Joe, who works in the shop. “They’re old enough now.”  He says they turn away young people all the time though. “You have to be 18 to enter the shop,” he said. “If you’re accompanied by minors outside, we’ll stop you and say we can’t make the sale.” Cunningham explained that the Tobacco21 movement is “kid driven.”  “So it’s a youth movement.”


Massachusetts Becomes Sixth State to Raise Legal Smoking Age to 21

Beginning next year, those wishing to purchase tobacco products including cigarettes and e-cigarettes in Massachusetts will have to be at least 21 in order to legally acquire them.

The state Senate and House of Representatives approved a compromise measure to bring Tobacco 21 across Massachusetts — while preventing any city or town from moving to raise the tobacco purchasing age any higher than 21 — earlier this month.

On Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker signed the bill raising the age limit to purchase tobacco products in the state from 18 to 21.

“There’s more than enough evidence to support ensuring that we have a statewide standard with respect to when the purchase and use of these products would be considered age appropriate,” Baker said.

Prior to Baker’s signing of the statewide measure, more than 170 Massachusetts municipalities had already raised the age limit to purchase tobacco products. The governor, who is an admitted supporter of local control, found this widespread popularity of the policy as a reason to sign the statewide Tobacco 21 bill, which will go into effect Dec. 31.

“At this time, it’s our view that a statewide approach is perfectly appropriate,” Baker explained.