Lakewood Councilman Proposing legislation to Raise Legal Tobacco Smoking Age

Lakewood Councilman Proposing legislation to Raise Legal Tobacco Smoking Age

James Morrissey

Ohioans continue to smoke well above the national average. According to smoking rates nationally have dropped in the last year from 15.5% to 14%, but Ohioans are still lighting up at a constant rate. Despite the known health risks over 25% of Ohio’s population still smokes. According to the CDC around 480,000 Americans die due to smoking, including 41,000 from second-hand smoke. More disturbing statistics include, 14.4 percent of women that are pregnant in Ohio smoked tobacco, this is a rate higher than most other states.

Councilmen John Litten tweeted that he will introduce legislation to the city council on Monday. His proposal, to make Lakewood minimum smoking age 21. His reasoning, 95% of addicted smokers reportedly start smoking before the age of 21. Early exposure to nicotine increases the risk of addiction. Many city’s in Ohio, including Akron and Cleveland, have raised the age required for a person can buy cigarettes from 18 to 21.

Lakewood is a very family friendly community, the proposal to change the minimum smoking age sound safe and smart. The Citizens for a Healthier Lakewood is a group of Lakewood residents, leaders, business people and community organizations, their goal is to make Lakewood safe and attack the high youth smoking rates. You can read more about their efforts here.

We talked to Senior Monica Ramos and asked her if she agrees with the new proposed law. “I am surprised the proposal hasn’t happened sooner. I think smoking cigarets is disgusting.” Ramos would go on to say, “I think it has worked in Cleveland, and even if it doesn’t lower the smoking rate it still makes it harder to get tobacco as a minor.”