Hamilton even has a coalition aimed at reducing tobacco use among youth. The Healthy Hamilton Coalition is through Envision Partnerships and includes youth and adults.
Also, the number of tobacco retailers caught selling to underage users fell by 47% since 2021, according to highlights of the research shared by Interact for Health.
House Bill 513 would make it illegal for any local jurisdiction to have tobacco policies stricter than Ohio law.
Supporters include the Ohio Wholesale Marketers Association. The group’s executive director, Beth Wymer, told WCPO 9 News that without uniform tobacco regulation across the state, buyers will purchase more tobacco products from unregulated sellers and in neighboring states, which hurts Ohio’s tax revenue, Wymer said.
“Do we want Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Kenton, Bellefontaine, Findlay saying, ‘Listen, just like the mayor of New York did, we’re going to get rid of the Big Gulp,’” Ohio House Rep. Jon Cross of District 83 asked in session two weeks ago. “‘We’re going to get rid of the Big Gulp. No 32-ounce cokes.’ This provision talks about the tobacco side of it.”
Hardee, the Cincinnati Health Department and others believe the bill threatens to undo decades of anti-addiction work with youth.
“We knew previously that if you do not start smoking cigarettes or tobacco-related products by the age of 21 you’re more than 90% likely to never smoke tobacco in your entire life,” Hardee said.
Without tipping his hand, DeWine told WCPO 9 News last week that allowing cities home rule is important but different with tobacco because of its impact.
“Sure it’s an individual choice (to smoke),” DeWine said during the interview last week. “No one is telling you you can’t smoke. But the cost to you as a taxpayer for paying for people on Medicaid who have cancer or have other problems because of smoking is in the hundreds of hundreds of millions of dollars each year. So it costs you as a taxpayer an awful lot of money.”