At its upcoming meeting on Wednesday, the Cincinnati City Council will vote on whether or not to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21-years-old, as well as a new tobacco retailer license to pay for the costs of increased enforcement of the new law.
On Monday, the council’s Budget and Finance Committee approved the ordinance by a 6-1 vote during its meeting, which will place it on the agenda for the next council meeting. With strong support at the committee level, it would appear the ordinance has a reasonably good shot at passing.
Should it gain the full council’s approval, it would not only raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products and nicotine delivery devices such as e-cigarettes to 21-years-old, but would call for increased enforcement of retailer compliance checks by the Cincinnati Health Department to ensure they are not selling to persons under the new age. To fund that program, the city would require all tobacco retailers to obtain a new license priced at $500 per year. The city has already secured $200,000 in funding by way of a grant from Interact for Health, though that money will be exhausted after two years.
Under the proposal, retailers found to be selling to persons under 21 would face fines starting at $500 and escalating to $1,250.
Cincinnati is home to just over 301,000 residents.