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.

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September 19, 2018