Stow may raise legal age to buy tobacco to 21


Stow tobacco age may raise to 21

Erin Simonek

Stow tobacco age may raise to 21 from on Vimeo.

The Summit County Board of Health proposed a new law to all cities in the county to change the age requirement to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.

This law would prohibit those who are not the age of 21 in purchasing any type of tobacco product in city limits. This includes the newest type of smoking- vapes.

John Pribonic, Mayor of Stow, said that the issue of health in young adults is the main concern. 

“We aren’t looking at this as just a vaping issue or cigarette issue,” Pribonic said, “this [law] really ties the whole thing together.”

Some cities throughout Summit County have turned down this proposal including Barberton but Mayor Pribonic said this is a necessary initiative to help the health of Stow’s youth.

Kathy Christ, Supervisor for Stow Youth Services said, “A student at Stow High School could be 18, which is not uncommon, and could go purchase and tobacco product they want.”

Christ explained upperclassman buying tobacco related products makes them “more readily available to the younger students.”

Captain Bryan Snavely of the Stow Police Department said different style of vaping devices can be designed to put many different types of substances in it. 

“You don’t know what’s in it,” Snavely said, “and there is no long-term studies to show its affect on people.

Christ said 18 students were disciplined for a tobacco related offense during the 2017-2018 school year and there are already 39 students who were disciplined for related offenses for the 2018-2019 school year.

“Your brain doesn’t spot maturing until age 24,” Captian Snavely said “If we can convert people away from nicotine and tobacco, this could prevent potential drug use.

Captain Snavely explained the 18 to 21 change would be more of an administrative discipline, meaning it won’t be a violation for a citation or an arrest, but rather and enforced rule banning sales in the city.   

Captain Snavely and Christ agreed with Mayor Pribonic, saying this topic of legislation is for the health of teens and the population of Stow.

Probinic, Snavely and Christ all showed concern that no type of tobacco related products in vapes are regulated by the government.

The new law has had one hearing at a city council meeting but has not been discussed since earlier this month.

The next opportunity to discuss this ordinance will be at the next council meeting on Feb. 28 where the city council would decide to alter this age law.