Soon it will not only be illegal for a purchase under the age of 21 to purchase a tobacco product, but also to be in possession of one, thanks to a recently passed ordinance by the city council of Grandview Heights, Ohio.
The age increase and new penalties passed 6-1, according to The Columbus Dispatch. The city had yet to post the results on its website or social media channels, but retweeted the newspaper’s story on Monday evening. The change goes into effect in 30 days.
The changes, which also include electronic cigarettes and liquid nicotine, make it a misdemeanor for a person under 21 years of age to be in possession of them, a penalty which carries up to a $100 fine and 20 hours of community service.
For retailers, they will be given a warning after the first occasion of selling to a minor, but subsequent violations 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.
Grandview Heights is a northwestern suburb of Columbus, with a population of just under 7,000 people. It’s now the third city in Ohio to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21, joining Upper Arlington and Bexley.
Update (Sept. 22, 2015) — Several city officials told the Columbus Dispatch that the city isn’t intending to go after people under 21 in possession of tobacco, but rather that the passage of the ordinance was done to make a public statement on people under 21 smoking.