AKRON, Ohio — Summit County could soon be getting tougher on tobacco, as part of a national movement called “Tobacco 21.”
It bans anyone under 21 from buying tobacco products.
Already six of Summit County’s 22 municipalities embrace it, including Akron and Green.
County Council could soon add all nine townships, including Bath, Copley, Richfield, and Sagamore Hills, among others.
Population Health Director Cory Kendrick hopes all of Ohio will one day follow suit.
“This is something we can control here locally and make a big change,” he said. “Evidence shows if we pass this, we can reduce youth initiation rates by up to 50%.”
But not everyone sees it the same way.
Hudson’s council recently rejected the measure.
“I just don’t think that trying to affect a statewide change by using individual cities’ home rule power is the way to go,” Councilman Hal DeSaussure said in a recent meeting. “Let’s let the statehouse make that determination and bring it to us.”
The decision was not unanimous.
For decades, fewer kids and teens had been lighting up, but now, new evidence shows that is changing.
According to the CDC, 4.9 million middle and high school students now use tobacco. The figure is up from 3.6 million just two years ago.
Stow is also considering the under-21 ban.
Columbus, Cleveland and most recently, Cincinnati, have all already enacted it.