Ohio’s new “Tobacco 21” law takes effect Thursday, October 17th, raising the age to purchase cigarettes, other tobacco products and alternative nicotine products from 18 to 21.
It follows a month’s long rollout of a new law signed by Gov. Mike DeWine in July. The measure was part of a $69 billion budget passed by the Legislature.
The new law requires retailers to post a sign indicating that it is illegal to sell tobacco and alternative nicotine products to anyone under the age of 21.
The types of tobacco and alternative nicotine products covered by the new law include cigarettes; electronic smoking devices such as vapes, e-cigarettes and tanks; cigars; pipe tobacco; chewing tobacco; snuff; snus; dissolvable nicotine products; filters, rolling papers, pipes, blunts, or hemp wraps; liquids used in electronic smoking devices, whether or not they contain nicotine; and vapor products – any component, part, or additive that is intended for use in an electronic smoking device, a mechanical heating element, battery, or electronic circuit and is used to deliver the product.
Tobacco products and alternative nicotine products do not include products such as nicotine replacement therapy for use when quitting tobacco and other nicotine products.
A clerk who sells tobacco and alternative nicotine products to a person under 21 and the owner of the retail establishment may face criminal penalties that increase after the first violation under Ohio’s “Tobacco 21” law.
For a first offense, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree, a clerk is subject to no more than 30 days in jail and a fine up to $250, and the retail establishment is subject to a fine of $2,000.