Akron, Ohio is the latest city to join the push to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco and tobacco alternative products from 18 to 21-years-old, as on Monday, a divided city council passed the ordinance by an 8-3 vote with two members abstaining.
The increase goes into effect immediately, though it contains a six month education period during which retailers will undergo an education program regarding the increase, as well as get a certification from Summit County Public Health before any fines are issued.
Once that six month window passes, retailers who tobacco, e-cigarettes, vaping products, or tobacco paraphernalia to minors will face a warning for a first offense, a $500 fine for a second offense, and a $1,000 fine for a third offense.
Both Columbus and Cleveland have passed similar increases, and with Akron’s passage of its increase, it means that three of Ohio’s largest cities have joined the Tobacco 21 movement. Cincinnati and Toledo have not yet passed such an increase.
Akron is Ohio’s fifth most populous city with a population of just under 200,000 residents. It is located approximately 40 miles south of Cleveland.