Cleveland Raises Minimum Age To Purchase Tobacco To 21

Cleveland Raises Minimum Age To Purchase Tobacco To 21

In a little over four months, it will likely be illegal for persons under 21 years old to purchase tobacco products, including cigars, within the city of Cleveland.

On Monday night, the Cleveland City Council passed a couple of antismoking measures, one of which raises the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 years old. The new rules affect sales of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products such as snuff, chewing tobacco and pipe tobacco.

The new ordinance does not necessarily criminalize the act of smoking, but focuses only on vendors who sell tobacco products. Consumers under the age of 21 could not be punished for tobacco use, but retailers who violate the proposed law would face penalties that range from a $250 fine up to 90 days in jail.

It is still undetermined if Cleveland police would be tasked with enforcing the new law, or if the city's Health Department would assume that responsibility. The City Council plans to revisit the enforcement issue before the proposal takes effect, which would be 120 days after Mayor Frank Jackson signs it, which he is expected to do.

While the new measure is expected to be put on Mayor Jackson's desk soon, a coalition of local retail store owners called Retail Buying Solutions sent a letter to Jackson's office on Tuesday asking him to veto the ordinance.

The City Council also passed a resolution that calls for the city to only hire non-smoking employees by 2017. Additionally, the council delayed a vote on another proposal that would prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products everywhere but in retail tobacco shops.


"How is it possible for the City Council to hire non smoking employees only? It's not legal for an interviewer to ask about your personal habits (smoking, drinking, drug use) that you might indulge in on your own time. I can see how it would be legal for them to ban smoking on company time, just as it would be for alcohol use. Any ideas?" —December 10, 2015 02:24 AM