GAHANNA, Ohio, December 18, 2023 - The Gahanna City Council voted Monday to approve a measure that will help keep tobacco, including vape products like e-cigarettes, out of the hands of youth and young adults. Councilmembers unanimously voted, 7 to 0, in favor of tobacco retail licensure which requires that all stores selling tobacco products and e-cigarettes apply for a permit.
Enforcing strong retail licensure (TRL) standards ensures accountability for both retailers and the tobacco industry and enables city officials to track the sale of tobacco products and foster enhanced oversight through routine compliance checks.
“Kids can’t even buy a snack at a supermarket, gas station or convenience store without being bombarded by tobacco products and the ads Big Tobacco constantly pushes on them,” said Laura Gravelin, MD, FHRS, president of the American Heart Association Board of Directors, Central Ohio, medical director of the Electrophysiology Lab and co-director of the Women's Heart Program with Mount Carmel Heart and Vascular Specialists. “Tobacco companies use shady tactics to hook young people on their highly addictive products, and to them, the younger, the better. In fact, CDC data demonstrates that if someone begins smoking regularly between ages 18 and 20, they are more likely to become addicted to nicotine and less likely to quit smoking compared to those who start at age 21 or older. That’s why enforcing Tobacco 21 (T21) through TRL is vital to ending tobacco use and nicotine dependence.”
Research has shown that compliance is most effective when the tobacco retailer or license holder is held accountable, rather than non-management employees who are often low-wage clerks, or the youth who purchase tobacco products.
Beginning March 1, 2024, if a store is caught selling tobacco products to individuals under 21, the license holder will be penalized, with penalties escalating with each violation. If the store continues to violate the law, their license will be revoked and it will be completely illegal for them to sell any kind of tobacco product.
“The tobacco industry spends more than $8 billion dollars a year – that’s $1 million every hour of every day – on advertising cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products,” said Gravelin. “It’s pervasive, not only in the places kids shop, but also inside the safety of their own homes due to the prevalence of tobacco use on social media and in TV shows and movies. It’s no surprise impressionable kids who are aggressively marketed to may end up picking up something like an e-cigarette. And, it’s not their fault when adults illegally sell these products to them.”
Fees collected from retail licensing ensure funding for compliance checks and enforcement of tobacco laws without additional costs to taxpayers.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, X or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.