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Ohio Raises Tobacco Buying Age

Buckeye State becomes 18th to increase minimum to 21
Photograph: Shutterstock

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Buckeye State has become the latest to raise its minimum age to buy tobacco and electronic cigarette to 21 years old, the 18th state to do so, according to Cincinnati.com.

On July 18, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed the measure as part of the state’s two-year budget, joining 17 other states to increase the legal buying age for tobacco to 21. The Ohio law goes into effect in mid-October.

“We really have a crisis not just in Ohio but a crisis across the country,” DeWine said. “We have known for a long, long time that if a young person can get to be 21 without smoking, the odds are pretty heavy that they aren’t ever going to smoke.”

In 2019, 12 states—Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Washington—raised the legal age to purchase tobacco and nicotine vapor products. Now 18 states have gone from the federal minimum of 18 to 21, with Nebraska raising its minimum age this year, but only to 19. In addition to the 12 states that raised their tobacco buying age to 21 this year, California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Utah did so prior to 2019.

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