Gov. Mike DeWine’s (R-OH) first budget proposal calls for raising the minimum age to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 to 21.
“The first proposed change is a health policy initiative that would raise the legal age to purchase cigarettes from 18 years old to 21,” the 676-page document states.
According to the budget, raising the purchasing age to 21 would cause a $2.8 million reduction in state General Revenue Fund sales tax revenues.
“I truly believe this is the start of a new day for public health in Ohio with Gov. DeWine making the health and well-being of all Ohioans a high-priority on his agenda,” Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton told Cleveland.com. “His budget proposals advancing public health in Ohio are evidence of this strong commitment, and we look forward to working collaboratively with our public and private partners at the state and local levels to help realize his vision.”
The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network praised DeWine for the proposal, but was disappointed he didn’t raise taxes on cigarettes.
“As an organization dedicated to saving lives, ACS CAN is pleased to see the governor taking steps to address public health initiatives in his budget. However, Ohio is missing some opportunities to enhance existing public health policies that have been proven to reduce tobacco use,” the group said in a press release.
According to the statement, 5,400 kids in Ohio will become “new daily smokers” this year alone, and another 20,200 adults will die from smoking.
“By not increasing the state’s cigarette tax, the other tobacco products tax including e-cigarettes or properly funding the state’s Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Program, the governor has missed an opportunity to keep kids from starting tobacco and help those already using tobacco to quit,” the statement continues.
Ohio currently taxes $1.60 for a pack of 20 cigarettes.
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