Indiana, take note. Yesterday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed the state’s budget bill into law that includes a provision raising the state’s smoking and vaping age from 18 to 21; it takes effect in 90 days. Then, people in Ohio under 21 can no longer buy tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices and Juul pods.

“Thank you to Governor DeWine and state lawmakers for taking this tremendous step in protecting our youth from the death and disease associated with tobacco use,” said Harold Wimmer, president and CEO of the American Lung Association in a statement.

“The Ohio governor and legislators who supported this law proved that they are truly focused on the health of their constituents. With the rise of easily concealable and fruit and candy flavored e-cigarettes, Tobacco 21 is important now more than ever – protecting youth, reducing smoking rates, saving on health care costs and saving lives.”

For several years, similar policy has stalled in the Indiana General Assembly. This issue remains a top priority for the Indiana Chamber, and we hope the Governor and state legislative leaders will finally address this critical issue in 2020.

On the national front, we remain encouraged by Sen. Todd Young’s effort to raise the smoking age. Late last month, the key components of his Tobacco to 21 Act passed out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee as part of the Lower Health Care Costs Act. Like Ohio’s new law, the Tobacco to 21 Act would prohibit the sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to anyone under the age of 21. The August recess for the Senate is just around the corner, but hopefully soon thereafter there will be action taken by the full Senate on this critical issue.

Resource: Mike Ripley at (317) 264-6883 or email: [email protected]