COLUMBUS, Ohio– Ohio’s new law that raises the age to buy tobacco to 21 goes into effect today.
The “Tobacco 21” law applies to cigarettes as well as e-cigarettes and vaping products.
“Research indicates that approximately 95 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, in a news release on Tuesday. “Increasing the age to 21 will reduce the chances of our young people starting to smoke and becoming regular smokers.”
State officials cite data from the Institute of Medicine that raising the age from 18 to 21 will prevent or delay use, particularly in people ages 15 to 17.
“Evidence suggests that nicotine use during adolescence and young adulthood has long-term impacts on brain development, and tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.,” said my Acton, MD, MPH, director of the Ohio Department of Health. “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.”
The law comes as health officials across the country continue to advise against vaping.
Latest information from the Ohio Department of Health said there have been 32 cases of pulmonary illness linked to vapes in the state. An additional 35 cases are under investigation. The median age of those affected is 21 years old.
There have been more than 1,200 reported cases of lung injury from vaping nationwide with at least 26 deaths. Research from the Centers for Disease Control suggests products containing THC play a role in the outbreak.