Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is proposing to raise the minimum age of purchasing tobacco from 18 to 21. This proposal comes as a part of his two-year state budget.
The proposal plans to include vaping products as well. Vaping has majorly grown in popularity among high school students, according to the Dayton Daily News. About 20% of high school seniors admitted in a national survey that they had vaped in the past 30 days last year. Survey results have risen from the 11% back in 2017.
Jeff Stephens of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network says that nearly all of the adults who smoke started before their 21st birthday. He believes that the state should go beyond the age increase and also increase the tax on cigarettes and tobacco products.
The e-cigarette company, Juul, supports increasing the minimum purchase age for tobacco products. Increasing the age has proven to dramatically reduce youth smoking rates.
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 spent ten years ago.
More than one in five Ohio residents smoke. Tobacco-related diseases kill more Ohioans every year than opioids.