Ohio Governor Mike DeWine passed the state budget bill, which included a law to raise the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21.
DeWine vetoed a grandfather clause that would have exempted people who are 18 to 20 as of Oct. 1 because he said this is the age range when most daily smokers begin that habit. He also said the exemption would have been burdensome for businesses.
Ohio is now the 18th state, plus the District of Columbia, to increase the legal age to buy tobacco to 21. Earlier this week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a similar bill into law, which will go into effect in November, 120 days after the signing.
San Francisco-based e-cigarette company Juul Labs Inc. released a statement from CEO Kevin Burns in favor of DeWine’s decision:
“We won’t succeed in providing the world’s one billion adult smokers with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes, the number one cause of preventable death in this country, if youth-use continues unabated. Tobacco 21 laws fight one of the largest contributors to this problem – sharing by legal-age peers – and they have been shown to dramatically reduce youth-use rates. That is why we are committed to working with lawmakers to enact these effective policies and hope more jurisdictions follow in Ohio’s example.”