The new age restriction to tobacco sales in Columbus would include any person under 21, according to the recent reports. If the new regulations are approved, Columbus will join the widely-spread tobacco-free initiative across the United States like many other local communities.
The age restriction policy would require around 2,000 retailers in Columbus to buy a sales license every year which would cost $150. There could be a $500 fine for any store which wouldn’t comply with the regulations.
In addition to this, every retailer would be required to ask all customers under 30 to identify themselves in case they want to buy tobacco products, including tobacco paraphernalia. It is worth mentioning that if these regulations are approved, vending machines would no longer sell tobacco.
Based on a 2012 survey, roughly 600,000 United States middle-school children and three million teenagers are already regular smokers. Public health officials regard this situation as an actual epidemic among children and young adults between 12 and 25 years old.
Experts underline that approximatively ninety percent of regular smokers try their first cigarette at the age of 18, whereas other 9 percent by the age of 26. Public health officials believe that a new age restriction and a tobacco-free policy will prevent many young adults and adolescents from becoming addicted to smoking.
Based on the healthcare guidelines, smoking can lead to long-lasting health issues, especially lung cancer. According to Dr. Teresa Long, the health commissioner in Columbus, if we prevent addiction, then we have a chance to reduce the mortality rates caused by smoking-related cancers.
Councilperson Priscilla Tyson added that a smoke-free policy and a new age restriction would play a vital role in reducing children exposure to second-hand smoking. Although the authorities will not charge smokers under 21, it can criminalize retailers who distribute tobacco products to persons who are underage.
A team of experts from the Ohio State University has recently conducted a survey during which they established that 176 local communities in eleven states across the country adopted a new age restriction to the sale of tobacco products. According to the estimates, around 5.6 million teenagers and young adults are expected to die of smoking-related cancers if new policies will not be adopted throughout the United States.
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