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Tobacco 21 Policy will Reduce Smoking Rates and Improve Health in City of Cincinnati

Dec 14, 2018

Data from Ohio Health Issues Poll shows a majority of Ohio adults supports such measures

On Wednesday, efforts to reduce exposure to tobacco among young adults in Cincinnati made significant progress with the passage of an ordinance by Cincinnati City Council to raise the minimum legal age of sale for tobacco products to 21. The policy will be enforced by the Cincinnati Health Department. Interact for Health applauds this move and will collaborate with public health leaders to plan for implementation, which begins Dec. 1, 2019.

“Tobacco 21 policies are a crucial step in reducing the number of adolescents and youth who start smoking,” said O’dell M. Owens, President and CEO of Interact for Health. “Efforts to delay the age when people first use tobacco and to postpone the age at which individuals become regular tobacco users can have long-term impacts in reducing tobacco-related disease and deaths.”

Currently, Tobacco 21 policies have been passed in six states (Hawaii, California, New Jersey, Oregon, Massachusetts and Maine) and more than 380 municipalities in the U.S. Cincinnati is the 16th municipality in Ohio to pass such a policy, joining Columbus, Cleveland and Akron.

Data released today from the Ohio Health Issues Poll shows that a majority of Ohio adults (54%) favors raising the minimum legal age of sale for tobacco to 21. Support for such policies was consistent among Democrats (56%) and Republicans (55%).

OHIP also found that about 2 in 10 Ohio adults (23%) report being current smokers, which is higher than the national rate of 15%, according to the 2017 National Health Interview Survey. 

“Tobacco 21 policies can also address health disparities,” said Owens. “Data from the 2017 Community Health Status Survey show that smoking rates are higher among individuals with lower incomes—those earning less than 100% of Federal Poverty Guidelines—and among adults who have a high school diploma or did not earn a high school diploma. Policies like these can help protect our friends, family and neighbors who are at greatest risk for tobacco-related diseases.”

Interact for Health, the American Heart Association, Cradle Cincinnati and a variety of other local partners have created a fact sheet on Tobacco 21, which provides additional data on the benefits of such policies and addresses common myths. A copy can be found at http://t21cincy.com/T21_Get_Smart.pdf.

For more information on Tobacco 21, please visit http://www.t21cincy.com/. For more information on the Ohio Health Issues Poll, please visit https://www.interactforhealth.org/whats-new/category/ohio-health-issues-poll/.

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About the Ohio Health Issues Poll

The 2018 Ohio Health Issues Poll (OHIP) is sponsored by Interact for Health. OHIP was conducted May 22-June 19, 2018, by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. A random sample of 816 adults from throughout Ohio was interviewed by telephone. This included 363 landline telephone interviews and 452 cell phone interviews. In 95 out of 100 cases, statewide estimates will be accurate to ± 3.4%. There are other sources of variation inherent in public opinion studies, such as non-response, question wording, or context effects that can introduce error or bias. For more information about the Ohio Health Issues Poll, please visit https://www.interactforhealth.org/about-ohip/.

About Interact for Health

Interact for Health is improving the health of all people in our region. We serve as a catalyst by promoting health equity through grants, education, research, policy and engagement. To amplify the impact of our work, Interact for Health focuses on three strategic priorities: reducing tobacco use, addressing the opioid epidemic and ensuring that children have access to health care through school-based health centers. We are an independent foundation that serves 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

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