Ohio Tobacco 21 sparks debate among Clark, Champaign residents

Changes to Ohio’s tobacco law has sparked reactions from Clark and Champaign county residents on the Springfield News-Sun Facebook page.

Thursday marked the first day of Ohio’s Tobacco 21 law. Under the law, the legal age to buy tobacco was raised from 18 to 21. The ban includes vaping products, cigarette rolling paper and other accessories related to smoking.

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According to a survey conducted by the Clark County Combined Health District, 82% of Clark County residents supported Tobacco 21, and a nationwide survey showed that 75% of adults favored the age increase.

However, reactions were mixed from residents who posted on the Springfield News-Sun Facebook. One of local resident’s biggest complaint with the law seems to be that 18-year-olds can enlist in the military, but are now unable to purchase tobacco products within the state.

“Just think, 18 years old and you can go join the military. Most cases you can smoke. But if you come home to Ohio you can’t. That’s about the dumbest thing I ever heard,” said Ronald Reid.

Many commenters agreed with Reid’s point of view, even those who said they have no interest in ever smoking.

“You know my son is 18 don’t smoke don’t dip and is mad about this. Might I add he will be in the army at the end of his senior year,” said Callie Ball.

However, not all residents are upset at the law change. Andrew Armstrong said in his opinion, there is no collaboration between being able to enlist at 18 and purchasing tobacco.

“Stop comparing an active duty career to hundreds of chemicals with nicotine. Why are you fighting to help get 18 year olds hooked on cigarettes? I’m 32 and finally got off the crap, been smoking since 18,” Armstrong said.

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Allen Dunlap said the root of the problem with Tobacco 21, isn’t the age raise, it’s that it leaves too many questions about when a teenager becomes an adult.

“I think at some (point) we’re going to have to all sit down and decide when someone becomes an adult,” Dunlap said. “How long can someone stay on parents health insurance, what age to vote, alcohol, cigarettes, drafted, joining the military. We are doing a disservice to our children by developing a culture with no clear and obvious moment they become a recognizable adult.”

Shane Roth said there is one change to the law that would clear up confusion on all fronts.

“How about you just ban cigarettes period? Reduces lung cancer by a ton,” Roth said.

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