Recent updates! – Tobacco 21 Progress

12/4/2017 – Dublin becomes 9th city in Ohio to adopt Tobacco 21 ordinance (effective March 1, 2018)
6/20/2017 – Powell becomes 8th city in Ohio to adopt Tobacco 21 ordinance
12/21/2016 – Euclid becomes 7th city in Ohio to adopt Tobacco 21 ordinance
12/12/2016 – Columbus becomes 6th city in Ohio to adopt Tobacco 21 ordinance
12/7/2015 – Cleveland becomes 5th city in Ohio to adopt Tobacco 21 ordinance
11/17/2015 – New Albany becomes 4th city in Ohio to adopt Tobacco 21 ordinance
9/21/2015 – Grandview Heights becomes 3rd city in Ohio to adopt Tobacco 21 Ordinance
6/23/2015 – Bexley becomes 2nd city in Ohio to adopt Tobacco 21 ordinance
6/8/2015 – Upper Arlington becomes 1st city in Ohio to adopt Tobacco 21 ordinance

The Tobacco 21 movement in Ohio began in the Spring of 2015, with the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation and its allies working to raise the age in their hometowns. Council Member Kip Greenhill introduced and championed the measure in Upper Arlington, a suburb of Columbus, while over 2 dozen residents of Upper Arlington testified before city council in support of Tobacco 21. The ordinance was quickly and unanimously passed. Bexley quickly followed, with an ordinance introduced by Council Member Deneese Owen also passing unanimously. Since then, Grandview Heights, New Albany, and Cleveland have overwhelmingly passed their own Tobacco 21 ordinances. Mr. Greenhill, Ms. Owen, and the residents and council members of Upper Arlington, Bexley, Grandview Heights, New Albany, and Cleveland deserve great recognition for their leadership.

Ohio currently has well above national average rates of both high school smoking and adult smoking. An estimated 259,000 children now under the age of 18 will eventually die prematurely due to smoking, with 7,100 children becoming daily smokers each year. The result is an annual health care cost of $5.64 billion that is directly caused by smoking, and another $5.88 billion in lost productivity. Despite this, the state only spends 11.8% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention, though this amount of funding is actually higher than in recent years.

State law has no preemption language regarding youth access to tobacco, and local governments have had past success in enacting indoor smoking bans, which were eventually adopted by the state. This means grassroots campaigns in support of raising the sales age of tobacco to 21 could gain support. It has been our experience that the most powerful incentive for the state legislature to act is the initiative of local citizens and governmental leaders. Statewide, California and Hawaii’s laws both began at the local level where powerful tobacco industry lobbyists have little sway. We encourage you to talk to your local city council person, county council member or board of health leader. Local champions have largely driven this movement in non-preempted states. Your voice is more influential than you think. Constituents are an impetus for change at the community and statewide levels. Garner interest around Tobacco 21 at the local and state level by communicating with your local legislators through phone calls, emails, and testimony at local government meetings. The state is also home of the Tobacco 21 project and the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation.

For more information, please contact:

Wendy Hyde
Ohio and Michigan Director
Tobacco 21

Amy Barkley
Director, Tobacco States and Mid-Atlantic
Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids

Rob Crane, MD
Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation

Micah Berman, JD
Public health law & tobacco policy expert
Former Executive Director, Ohio Tobacco Public Policy Center

or visit our sources:

Tobacco Free Kids Ohio: “The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco.”

American Lung Association State Report Card: “The ALA ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report tracks progress on key tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels, and assigns grades based on tobacco control laws and regulations in effect as of January 2, 2014.”

SLATI State Information Ohio: “SLATI (State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues) is an extensively researched and invaluable source of information on tobacco control laws and policy, and is the only up-to-date and comprehensive summary of state tobacco control laws.”

The Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation and the Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids support these four principles for Tobacco 21 ordinances:

1) Include all tobacco and nicotine products, specifically e-cigarettes. The only exceptions would be FDA recognized nicotine replacement products (gum, patch, etc.) intended for cessation.
2) Include significant enforcement provisions against illegal sales as research shows that consistent enforcement is of critical importance.
3) Not include any pre-emption against local authority in more stringent regulation of tobacco or other nicotine product sales, secondhand smoke, or e-cigarette vapor.
4) Ideally not include possession, usage, or purchase (PUP) penalties that result in criminal records, and instead place the onus on the purveyors of these addictive products.

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