Tobacco 21

photo of juuls
Anna Huntsman / WKSU

E-cigarettes are branded as alternatives to cigarettes that can help people stop smoking. But teenagers are using these devices to start smoking. Schools across Summit County have seen an increase in vaping, and local health officials are working to combat the issue that’s now considered a national epidemic.

Map of Tobacco 21 efforts
Tobacco21

Akron City Council is expected to vote tonight on whether to prohibit the sale of tobacco products to those under 21. Proponents hope the rest of the Summit County will follow Akron’s lead.  

Those pushing to increase the age from 18 to 21 include public health officials, pediatricians, the national group Tobacco21 and the head of the city’s effort to combat infant mortality. They note that 2 percent of tobacco sales are to people under age 21 -- but those sales end up producing 90 percent of new smokers.

photo of burning cigarette in hand
PHONRAT / SHUTTERSTOCK

Akron is considering a new ordinance that would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. This change which has already been implemented in Columbus and Cleveland has led to mixed results.