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Age to buy smokes, vapes to 21; City adopts Tobacco 21 law

Beginning next year no one under the age of 21 will be legally allowed to purchase tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices, within the city limits of Harrison.

Ordinance No. 1441 was passed unanimously by Harrison City Council at its regular monthly meeting Thursday, Sept. 27. The law was proposed by members of Ignite, a youth group supported by North Arkansas Partnership for Health Education (NAPHE) and the Boone County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition. Several student representatives made a formal presentation to council members during the monthly committee meetings last Sept. 13.

San Antonio’s “Tobacco 21” Law Is Part of A Growing Movement to Regulate E-Cigarettes

Teens in San Antonio might find it hard to re-up their supply of JUUL pods following an ordinance that bans the sale of all tobacco products for anyone under 21. San Antonio is the first city in Texas to enact stricter regulations on tobacco. It joins a growing list of cities taking similar stands amidst the rise of e-cigarettes because federal laws just aren’t cutting it.

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In September, U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb released a statement calling e-cigarettes “an epidemic.” The FDA also gave major manufacturers like JUUL and Blu a 60-day deadline to show that they’re trying to be less appealing to teens. Although the clock is still ticking on those 60 days, Adam Leventhal, Ph.D., a professor of preventative medicine at the University of Southern California says that San Antonio’s stricter tobacco policy is probably a smart move.

“If we had initiated these policies decades ago, we probably could have saved hundreds of thousands if not millions of teens who go exposed to cigarettes at an early age,” Leventhal tells Inverse. “Now with the greater diversity of products on the market including e-cigarettes and vaping devices, the Tobacco 21 policies that include e-cigarettes within them are addressing a product that’s highly popular amongst the youth population.”

San Antonio’s Tobacco 21 ordinance comes in the wake of other municipality-led movements raising the tobacco-buying age from 18 to 21. In 2016, Hawaii was the first to enact a state-wide law, and was soon followed by California. Maine and Oregon hopped on board this summer, and Massachusetts’ policy will take effect this December.

Douglas County Commission raises age to purchase tobacco products to 21 in unincorporated areas

The Douglas County Commission has raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco products in the county’s unincorporated areas to 21.
The commission approved a resolution to raise the minimum age during its meeting on Wednesday. Commissioner Mike Gaughan said the county will soon publish the resolution and it will take effect 30 days later, meaning that the new rule will likely be in force by late October.

The measure affects all products that include nicotine, including the liquids used in electronic cigarettes. However, as of right now, there are only four stores in the county’s unincorporated areas to which it would apply.

On Sept. 12, representatives from LiveWell Douglas County, the Lawrence Boys & Girls Club, Lawrence Memorial Hospital and the Kansas chapter of the American Lung Association urged commissioners to raise to 21 the legal age to buy tobacco products, saying it would end the social chain of 18- through 20-year-old friends buying tobacco products for minors.

Gaughan said on Wednesday their presentations were very compelling.

“(They showed) how addictive these products are and how dangerous that is to adults if they get addicted when they are young,” he said. “So the opportunity to improve health outcomes for people in Douglas County, and hopefully beyond, is an area where Kansas counties and cities are getting out in front.”

Commissioner Nancy Thellman said one of the most compelling reasons she heard was that the Boys & Girls Club was dealing with kids who are using e-cigarettes.

“Apparently, (e-cigarettes) are just rampant in schools,” Thellman said.

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New Push in Arkansas to Raise the Age to Buy Tobacco

HARRISON, Ark. — According to statistics, Arkansas has one of the highest High School and adult smoking rates in the country.

Right now, there’s a push in Harrison to raise the legal age to buy cigarettes from 18 to 21.

The initiative is called “Tobacco 21”, an effort that spans across the nation.

“There have been surveys that say about 76 percent of Arkansans support raising that age,” said Patrick Hunter, of the Boone County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, which supports the initiative. He says statistics reveal that 90-percent of all adult smokers start between the ages of 18 and 21.

“Overall, and I think this is a nationwide stat..that if we’re able to raise that age from 18 to 21, we could reduce smoking overall by 12 percent. That’s through the Institute of Medicine,” Hunter said.

The local group of supporters includes a group of Harrison High School students called “Ignite.”

The students recently went before a city council committee to get their voices heard on the issue.

“These are high school seniors often times you know they’re turning 18 years old. They’re seeing this used amongst their peers,” said Daniel Dillard, of the “North Arkansas Partnership for Health Education.”

A couple of smokers in Harrison shared their take on raising the age to buy tobacco products.

“I think it should be raised up to 21..except for the people that are in the military. They can die and serve our country and all that…I think they should be able to,” said smoker Clarence Teezling.

24-year-old Kerry Ray says he’s been smoking since he was 10 or 11 years old.

“There’s still kids out these days that are going to bootleggers and everything else that doesn’t ask for I’D’s. And if the age on tobacco gets raised, what says that they’re not going to have bootleggers for that too.”

Tobacco 21 supporters will before Harrison City Council next Thursday, for the first reading of the proposed ordinance.

Helena-West-Helena was the first city in Arkansas to implement a “Tobacco 21” law.

San Antonio smoke shops prepare for new ordinance raising tobacco age to 21

San Antonio businesses are preparing for a new ordinance that will go into effect October 1 that will raise the age for purchasing tobacco products to 21.

Tobacco shops within the city limits will soon have new signs banning sales to customers under the age of 21.

Effective Oct. 1, 2018, a new tobacco ordinance will prohibit the sale of tobacco products to any person under 21 years of age within the boundaries of the City of San Antonio.

According to the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, this includes all forms of tobacco products including liquids used in e-cigarettes or hookahs.
“What we want to accomplish is reducing the number of young people, young adults who start smoking in our community,” Assistant Director Mario Martinez said, “And that’s a big push is to get that education across.”

In all, 95 percent of adult smokers began smoking before the age of 21, and 88 percent began before age 18, according to the department.

Bridgette McFarlin, manager at Smokerz Paradize, said that she’s all too familiar with these statistics.

“I started smoking at 16,” McFarlin said. “I stopped, but once I turned 18, started up again. I really wish that I was a more mature age to know I shouldn’t do it, because I’m really regretting smoking right now.”

The smoke shop is one of dozens within the city limits that are training their employees and changing their signs to reflect the new ordinance.