Ohio’s New Legal Smoking Age

Written By: Ishton W. Morton – November 2nd, 2019

New law signed by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine

According to the Ohio Revised Code 2927.02, as of October 17th, 2019 it is now illegal to give, sell, or otherwise distribute cigarettes, other tobacco products, or alternative nicotine products like e-cigarette/vaping products to any person under the age of 21.

The Ohio’s new “Tobacco 21” law has taken effect on Thursday, October 17th, 2019 raising the age to purchase cigarettes, other tobacco products and alternative nicotine products from 18 to 21.

Subsequently, this follows a month long rollout of a new law signed by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine back in July of 2019. Additionally, this measure was part of a $69 billion budget passed by the Ohio’s Legislature.

Reportedly, DeWine had this to say, research shows the 95% of adult smokers began smoking before they turned 21 and he is anticipating that this will help people to avoid getting into this extremely bad habit earlier.

Supportively, Misty Bostic an oncology social worker who runs a free smoking cessation program at The Christ Hospital and health professionals like Heather Featherson, a respiratory therapist at The Christ Hospital are both in agreement with the Governor on the importance of catching and stopping potential smokers early.

According to Featherson, “Men, on average, will lose 13 years of their life from smoking while Women will lose 14years on the average.”

From cigarettes to cigars to dissolvable nicotine products, those in the industry, like Alex Montchai at Wonderland Smoke Shop, said there will be a dip in business.

Seemingly, the notion of using or giving, selling or otherwise distributing cigarettes, other tobacco products, or alternative nicotine products like e-cigarette/vaping products has demonstrated discussions on both sides of the topic.

Accordingly, Montchai have argued, “It is just politics, annoying. It is going to take away a little bit of business. Prohibition has never worked, ever. Kentucky is 15 minutes that way.” Many seems to be somewhat bewildered and lost by Montchai point-of-view

However, with good standing, Featherson disagrees. She continued to say; “As far as the law, I think it is an amazing idea. I myself started smoking at 16 and quit when I was 27. At 27, I was already having effects from smoking. My asthma increased.”

Featherson firmly believes that tobacco products and alternative nicotine products do not include products like nicotine replacement therapy for use when quitting.

In support, Bostic had this o say; “It impacts your whole body — just how addictive it really is. Studies have shown that it is just as addictive as heroin or crack cocaine. They really don’t understand why it is so addictive. It is physical and mental.”

In a cynical sort of a way, if humans were designed to smoke, at some point we would have had a chimney or some extended device, mechanism or apparatus up-side our heads. Think about it!

Nevertheless, the new law is requiring retailers to post a sign indicating that it is illegal to sell tobacco and alternative nicotine products to anyone under the age of 21.

Furthermore, the types of tobacco and alternative nicotine products covered by the new law include cigarettes; electronic smoking devices, such as vapes, e-cigarettes and tanks; cigars; pipe tobacco; chewing tobacco; snuff; snus; dissolvable nicotine products; filters, rolling papers, pipes, blunts, or hemp wraps; liquids used in electronic smoking devices, whether or not they contain nicotine; and vapor products – any component, part, or additive that is intended for use in an electronic smoking device, a mechanical heating element, battery, or electronic circuit and is used to deliver the product.

An electronic cigarette, is defined as e-cigarette among other names, is a handheld battery-powered vaporizer that simulates smoking and provides some of the behavioral aspects of smoking, including the hand-to-mouth action of smoking, but without burning tobacco.

 Using an e-cigarette is known as “vaping” and the user is referred to as a “vaper.” Instead of cigarette smoke, the user inhales an aerosol, commonly called vapor. E-cigarettes typically have a heating element that atomizes a liquid solution called e-liquid.

 E-cigarettes are automatically activated by taking a puff; others turn on manually by pressing a button. Some e-cigarettes look like traditional cigarettes, but they come in many variations. Most versions are reusable, though some are disposable.

 There are first-generation, second-generation, third-generation, and fourth-generation devices. Also, there is pod mod devices that use nicotine in the form of a protonated nicotine, rather than free-base nicotine found in earlier generations. E-liquids usually contain propylene glycolglycerinnicotineflavorings, additives, and differing amounts of contaminants. Additionally, E-liquids are sold without propylene glycol, nicotine, or flavors.

Tobacco products and alternative nicotine products do not include products such as nicotine replacement therapy for use when quitting tobacco and other nicotine products.

Accordingly, clerk who sells tobacco and alternative nicotine products to a person under 21 and the owner of the retail establishment may face criminal penalties that increase after the first violation under Ohio’s “Tobacco 21” law.

It is completely mystifying for me to understand why any rational person would want a law to define for them that using these types of products is completely damming to their health.

Ok! Since there has to be such a law, then the following are somewhat inadequate. For a first offense, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree, a clerk is subject to no more than 30 days in jail and a fine up to $250, and the retail establishment is subject to a fine of $2,000.


Author: Ishton W. Morton

Formerly, Ishton W. Morton is an educator and promoter for community advocacy which includes creating programs and services, developing partnerships, and changing public policies, laws, and practices to improve the lifestyle of all people I’m still having an overwhelming desire to provide an Outreach Continuing Education process through this media.