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Ohio governor proposes raising age to buy tobacco

Posted at 9:14 AM, Mar 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-24 09:17:21-04

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is proposing raising the minimum age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21 as part of his two-year state budget.

The plan would also include vaping products, which have grown in popularity among high school students, the Dayton Daily News reported .

About 20 percent of high school seniors reported in a national survey that they had vaped in the past 30 days last year, which was up from 11 percent in 2017.

Jeff Stephens with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network said nearly all of the adults who smoke started before they turn 21.

The e-cigarette company Juul said it supports increasing the minimum purchase age for tobacco products because doing so has proved to dramatically reduce youth smoking rates.

More than one in five Ohio residents smoke, and tobacco-related diseases kill more Ohioans every year than opioids.

Stephens said the state should go beyond the age increase and also increase the tax on cigarettes and tobacco products.

The state places a sales tax and a $1.60 per pack excise tax on a pack of 20 cigarettes, but e-cigarettes don’t face an excise tax. Other tobacco products, such as chew and snuff are taxed at 17 percent of wholesale.

The American Cancer Society also has called for the state to increase funding for prevention and smoking cessation programs.

Ohio spends about $12.5 million on cessation and prevention, down from $35 million a decade ago.

Information from: Dayton Daily News,