New Nicotine and Tobacco Laws in Lakewood


Nina Zanghi

Last Monday, on March 18th, the Lakewood City Council voted on the issue of raising the minimum age to buy tobacco and nicotine from 18 to 21 years old. The council voted unanimously to raise the age to 21 years old.

Lakewood will join 435 municipalities from across the country that have also raised the age to 21. Lakewood will also join 21 other Ohio communities that have passed a similar law. Some of those communities are Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland Heights. Even the Ohio governor, Mike DeWine, has proposed raising the age from 18 to 21 across the state of Ohio.

Lakewood’s legislation was proposed in response to the rising amount of alternative nicotine products that are becoming popular among the city’s youth. Council-member John Litten, who initially proposed the legislation, said that because, “95% of addicted smokers initiate smoking before age 21,” it makes sense to raise the age to legally buy nicotine and tobacco to 21.

The legislation was crafted with the special needs of Lakewood in mind. The council had multiple meeting with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, who will also be helping enforce the new ordinance. The legislation also received endorsement from Mayor Summers.

If a business in Lakewood sells nicotine and tobacco products to someone underage, they will have to pay a fine and their permit to sell these products will be taken away.

When Lakewood resident, Ella Calleri, heard about the new legislation, she said, “I am not surprised that they raised the age from 18 to 21. It has been happening all around the country ever since the popularity of vaping.”