Anyone who has spent time around young people lately knows that electronic cigarettes and other “vapor” devices are all the rage among the younger crowd. However, a Cleveland, Ohio law may soon be passed that will put a damper on the smoking fun, at least for people under the age of 21.
The law proposes that Cleveland residents must be 21 or over to purchase cigarettes, tobacco, or any other smoking devices, even those that do not contain tobacco or nicotine. It was passed by the City Council and according to those who proposed it, the goal is not to discourage smoking of all types among teenagers and young adults.
In the hopes of even further discouraging smoking, the City Council also passed a resolution that’s practically unheard of in the United States thus far, but which many are speculating may cause other cities and states to follow suit. The resolution proposes that the City not hire any smokers by the year 2017. The resolution, which is quite controversial, was sponsored by Councilman Joe Cimperman, who firmly believes that laws like this one could put an end to smoking altogether.
However, not everyone is in agreeance with Cimperman. At least two council members voted against both of the legislations and feel that they would criminalize the act of smoking and would be unfair to the black community. The black community, according to studies, is more likely to smoke than the white community, especially in youth, and the council members feel that more black youth would thus be stopped and potentially endangered just for the simple act of smoking a cigarette.
Nevertheless, the law is now in place that vendors cannot sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. If they’re caught, they could face jail time and a $250 fine, and that’s just for a first offense. Punishments would get more and more strict with subsequent offenses.
Regardless of the heated feelings surrounding these laws, the fact remains that cigarette smoking and general tobacco use is still a major thing with teens and young adults, and that these laws, if passed, could help to stop them from damaging their health so early in life and from forming potentially lifelong addictions.
Furthermore, many young people are under the impression that vaping or using e-cigarettes is somehow safer than smoking regular tobacco, but the jury is still out on that one. Since these products are relatively new inventions, extensive research has not yet been conducted on the effects of long-term use of said products. However, most health care professionals believe that these products are just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than standard tobacco products.
Some council members are asking that, if all of the laws go into effect, if the health department, rather than the police, could be responsible for enforcing them, but really, everything is still up for debate right now, and as is the case with the effects of e-cigarettes, only time will really tell what will come of it all.