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Gov. Mike DeWine wants to increase age to buy tobacco, nicotine products in Ohio to 21

20 Ohio localities have already passed similar laws.

As part of his wide-ranging state budget proposal for the next two years, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine seeking to change the state's tobacco laws.

Specifically, the governor wants to increase the minimum age for buying tobacco from 18 to 21 statewide. That policy is already in effect in 20 Ohio localities, including Cleveland, Akron, and Euclid.

DeWine's budget describes the plan as a "health policy initiative" that would affect "cigarettes and cigarette papers, other tobacco products, and alternative nicotine products." The latter potentially means the policy could target the vaping industry as well.

Should the policy pass through the General Assembly, DeWine's administration does project a decrease in sales tax revenues of $17 million in 2020 and $22.7 million in 2021.

The organization Tobacco Free Kids claims 15.1 percent of Ohio high school students currently smoke, compared to 8.1 percent in the United States. Six states have already raised the buying age to 21.

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