When the city of Grandview Heights, Ohio increased the minimum age to purchase tobacco and other nicotine delivery products last month, it also made possession of those products by persons under 21-years-old a crime punishable by an unclassified misdemeanor that carried up to a $100 fine and 20 hours of community service or mandatory attendance at smoking cessation classes. At Monday’s meeting, the city council dropped that portion of the ordinance after the mayor and several members decided they didn’t like the idea and that it was included as more of a pro-health statement than anything else.
Shortly after the ordinance was originally passed, several members of the council said they had no intent of going after people for possession of tobacco or e-cigarettes, and when the mayor added his opposition, the ordinance was sent back for a revision, which passed 6-1 according to The Columbus Dispatch. Enforcement was seen to be a challenge primarily since neighboring municipalities have differing laws.
This new version will go into effect in 30 days and also includes a ban on smoking in outdoor recreational areas.
Grandview Heights is a northwestern suburb of Columbus, with a population of just under 7,000 people. It is the third city in Ohio to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21, joining Upper Arlington and Bexley.