Cleveland Heights passes Tobacco 21 ordinance: City Council recap

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — In voting to raise the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products, “e-cigs” and “vapes” from 18 to 21, City Council received personal thanks on Monday from Cuyahoga County Health Commissioner Terry Allan.

Allan and his department will be handling enforcement of the new “Tobacco 21” law in Cleveland Heights, which takes effect on Jan. 1 and involves civil penalties for underage sales by vendors, as well as possible permit revocations for multiple offenses.

Allan pointed to statistics showing that only 5 percent of smokers start the habit after age 21. At the same time, e-cigarettes and vapes seem to be targeting a younger crowd, with flavors like “bubble gum.”

And while vapes are promoted as an alternative to smoking, a single Juul pod has the nicotine content of a pack of cigarettes.

“This is about protecting our kids from dual use,” Allan said, “because it’s not one or the other — it’s both.”

The measure passed 6-0, only because Councilman Mike Ungar, who brought it to Committee-of-the-Whole in April, was advised to recuse himself since his daughter serves as the executive director of Tobacco 21 in Columbus.

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October 16, 2018