COLUMBUS — Effective Thursday, Oct. 17, anyone attempting to purchase tobacco and vaping products in the state must be at least 21 years old.
Ohio’s new “Tobacco 21” law takes effect this week, raising the age to purchase cigarettes, other tobacco products, e-cigarettes and vaping products from 18 to 21.
It also makes it illegal to give such products to others under age 21. A clerk who sells tobacco and alternative nicotine products to a person under 21 and the owner of the retail establishment may face criminal penalties and fines.
“Research indicates that approximately 95% of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday in a news release. “Increasing the age to 21 will reduce the chances of our young people starting to smoke and becoming regular smokers.”
According to a 2015 report by the Institute of Medicine, raising the tobacco sales age from 18 to 21 will likely prevent or delay initiation of tobacco use by adolescents and young adults, particularly among youth 15 to 17 years old.
“Raising the sales age for tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21 means that those who can legally obtain these products are less likely to be in the same social networks as high school students,” explained Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton.
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.
Tobacco products and alternative nicotine products do not include products such as nicotine replacement therapy for use when quitting tobacco and other nicotine products.
For more information about Ohio’s Tobacco 21 law, go to OhioTobacco21.gov or call the toll-free hotline at 855-OHIO-T21. ODH’s Ohio Tobacco Quit Line at 800-QUIT-NOW offers free resources, including nonjudgmental quit coaches for quitting tobacco and vaping products.