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Tobacco 21 Hits Hard at State, Local Levels

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We recently posted a blog regarding the Food and Drug Administration’s meeting with top e-cigarette manufacturers, asking them to not only back a nationwide Tobacco 21 effort, but to help lead crusades state and even city levels. Congress passing a law of that magnitude for all 50 states will take time and effort, and we’re seeing local jurisdictions taking it upon themselves to self-regulate at much quicker pace. With that, let’s take a look at the latest Tobacco 21 news taking place across the nation.

Chicago seems to always be in vaping news outlets as of recent, and the suburbs are getting in on Tobacco 21, even though Illinois law stands at 18. First up we have Hoffman Estates, which according to the Daily Herald, is raising its possession and sales age of tobacco and e-cigarette products to 21. This is an amendment to the town’s current tobacco ordinance, and anyone under 21 found possessing either will face a fine of up to $250. Retailers caught selling tobacco or e-cigarette products to the new minor age will receive up to $500 in fines. Additionally, if a business is found guilty of selling three times it could lose its license.

The Barrington Village board voted to approve Tobacco 21 for purchase, reports the Daily Herald. The new law, which went into effect earlier in November, will not be for possession.

These two suburban changes comes on the heels of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a bill that would have made Tobacco 21 for purchase a reality for the entire state. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Rauner explained his veto to the General Assembly, calling smoking “detrimental to the health of Illinoisans of all ages, but said the bill would only limit consumer choice without keeping tobacco out of youthful hands. “Raising the age people can purchase tobacco products will push residents to buy tobacco products from non-licensed vendors or in neighboring states,” he said. “Since no neighboring state has raised the age for purchasing tobacco products, local businesses and the state will see decreased revenue while public health impacts continue.” Illinois-based tobacco and vape shops agreed, along with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. Additionally, Sen. Kyle McCarter opposed the bill back in the spring. He told the Sun-Times: “‘It is one of those times where we need to step back and say let people make their choices, ‘noting that 18-year-olds who can sign up for the military,’ and ‘possibly give your life for your country,’ shouldn’t have rights taken away.’”

WMUR reports Keene, NH, officials are working on Tobacco 21 for purchase on tobacco and vaping products. While the city council subcommittee moved the process forward, they may take it to the state level after mixed reviews from the community, especially vape shop owners. Daniel Cavallero, Monadnock Vapor owner, said at the meeting, “We’ve never sold to underage kids, never. Yet, somehow it’s up in the schools so what you’re doing, if you change this to 21, we’re talking about creating a black market.”

West-Virginia-based Parkersburg News and Sentinel reports that Washington County officials are working on Tobacco 21 for purchase, and the measure’s public forum meetings are being overseen by the county’s health department tobacco prevention coordinator, Stephanie McPeek. Following two forums is a public survey, still in effect, along with various meetings with city and village councils and township trustees. Enactment of the ordinance will fall into the hands of local authorities.

Ipswich, MA, may be the next to enact Tobacco 21 for purchase, along with limiting the sale of flavored products to licensed tobacco sellers and banning self-service displays, according to thelocalne.ws. The board of health will be tasked with voting on the proposed changes, which would take effect before the end of the year.