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Age to Purchase Tobacco Products Increases to 21 in Ohio


In July of 2019, Governor Mike DeWine approved a bill that increases the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21. Anyone who turned 18 before October 1, 2019 will not be subject to the new legislation.

The new law, which takes effect on October 17, 2019, applies to:

  • Cigarettes
  • Cigars
  • Vape devices
  • Rolling papers
  • Filters
  • Blunt wrappers
  • Liquids

Age Increase Happening Nationwide

Ohio is the 18th state to pass a Tobacco 21 legislation and comes as federal lawmakers are looking to increase the legal age from 18 to 21.

Other states that have made it illegal to sell a tobacco product to a person under 21 years of age include:

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • District of Columbia

According to Altria Group Inc., over half the country’s population lives in a state where the minimum age to buy a tobacco product is 21.

Lawmakers reason that increasing the legal age limit for tobacco purchases will result in a decrease in smoking among minors and improve health. Today, over 80% of smokers report that they had their first cigarette before they turned 18. Additionally, when the legal limit for purchasing and consuming alcohol was raised, there was a decrease in drunk driving incidents.

Because teens are still growing, ingesting the chemicals in tobacco products could stunt brain development and lead to health conditions such as seizures and respiratory problems.

Tobacco Use Among Teens

In recent years, tobacco consumption among minors has steadily increased. The rise has been attributed to the appearance of vape devices on store shelves. The products, which sometimes look like USB flash drives, are easy to conceal and come in “fun” flavors, which are attractive to adolescents. One of the most popular brands, JUUL, has come under fire recently for allegedly using questionable marketing practices that were aimed at teenagers.

Vaping Detectors in Schools

To prevent and stop teens from using tobacco products, especially vapes, some Ohio schools have installed vaping detectors on their campuses. Hillard City School District added the devices, and the Olentangy Local school board approved a proposal to install detectors on the property. Other school districts are looking to see how the detectors work before taking steps to have the $64,000 machines put in.

Reach Out to Bridges, Jillisky, Weller & Gullifer, LLC Today

If your teen was accused of committing a juvenile offense, such as underage smoking, our team is ready to provide the legal guidance you need in Union County.

Schedule your free consultation by calling us at (937) 403-9033 or contacting us online.