Cincinnati, Ohio to Vote on Raising Tobacco Purchasing Age to 21, New Retailer Licenses

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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.

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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.

Ohio has seen more than a dozen cities increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, most notably Cleveland, Columbus and Akron.

Cincinnati is home to just over 301,000 residents.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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