Youngstown counciil hears proposal to increase smoking age to 21


City council’s public health committee is interested enough in raising the legal age for tobacco purchases from 18 to 21 in the city to ask the law department and Health Commissioner Erin Bishop to develop legislation to change the age.

The committee, consisting of Councilwomen Lauren McNally, D-5th, chairwoman, and Anita Davis, D-6th, and Councilman Nate Pinkard, D-3rd, vice chairman, heard testimony Thursday in favor of raising the age from Bishop and Dr. Elena Rossi, medical director for special projects for Akron Children’s Hospital.

Called Tobacco 21, the proposed law would not prohibit those under 21 from smoking, but it would ban sales to anyone under 21 of tobacco products, including E-cigarettes, vaping and another method called Juul which is growing in popularity, particularly among younger users.

“It is like a flash drive, and it is flavored and is highly addictive,” Dr. Rossi said of Juul.

Also, she said, these products are not regulated and there is no documentation that they are safe.

“We want to start focusing on E-cigarettes. They don’t smell or taste like tobacco,” said Bishop.

“Vaping is not a safe alternative to tobacco. It is just substituting one product containing carcinogens with another,” she said.

Read more about the matter in Friday's Vindicator or on

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