Legal Smoking Age Raised to 21

[July 25, 2019]

Ohio is the 18th state in the US to adopt a Tobacco 21 law.

Gov. Mike DeWine signed the change into law last week as part of the state budget bill. In addition to cigarettes, tobacco, and e-cigarettes, the new law applies to rolling papers, filters, blunt wrappers, liquids and other accessories related to smoking and vaping.

The goal of raising the minimum age is to prevent children from ever starting to smoke. According to the American Lung Association, about 94 percent of adult smokers had their first cigarette before turning 21. Over 80 percent started before age 18. Statistics also show that more than one in five adults in Ohio smoke, which is among the highest rates in the nation.

Vaping and e-cigarettes have become more prevalent. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, between 2017 and 2018, there has been a 78 percent increase in usage among high school students and a 48 percent increase among middle school students.

The budget bill also includes a new 10 cent per milliliter tax on vaping products.

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