NEW LEXINGTON — With teen vaping recently becoming a major headline throughout the country, efforts to quell the use of tobacco and nicotine products in young teens was brought to the New Lexington Village Council recently. The Perry County Health Department brought materials in hopes that teenage tobacco and nicotine usage decreases.
The Perry County Director of Health Education Deborah Raney visited with the council with material involving establishments that sell tobacco products. In her material, she included drafts of resolutions for the council to consider.
“I am not asking for any decisions to be made of any sort today, I just want to leave information,” Raney stated.
Recently as of October of last year, the State of Ohio raised the age in order to purchase tobacco to 21 years old. However, while the law attempts to limit tobacco use in teens, Raney believes more needs to be done in order to keep tobacco and nicotine products out of the hands of New Lexington students.
According to Ohio Revised Code, it is not a violation for a “child” to receive or accept tobacco products if the child is required to do so in the performance of employment.
Prior to her presentation, Jenny LaRue and Lisa Leckrone provided the council with a map of Carroll Street for a presentation on Complete Streets Policy. Raney guided the eyes of the council again to the poster as six tobacco retailers located on and around the street. Specifically, retailers are located from Panther Drive to Broadway Street in New Lexington. There are currently 11 tobacco retailers inside the New Lexington corporation limit which translates to one establishment for every 429 community residents.
“The only thing we are asking is for the council to think about… are the kids coming and going from New Lexington and the access exposure they get to tobacco,” Raney said. “We are excited about the possibilities, as this area improves, what that’s going to mean for businesses coming in.”
She added that while it is good for business to come to the Village, what worries her and her colleagues is the possibility of business entities wanting a license to sell tobacco products as the area continues to expand. According to the Perry County Auditor’s website, entities or any person engaging in the wholesale retail industry of trafficking in cigarettes require a Cigarette Dealer’s License. The information was also communicated to the council in a packet.
While tobacco laws are being put into place, it is still a main focus for the director to limit the use in teens. According to information Raney shared with council, tobacco use is still the nation’s number one cause of preventable death and disease. Large tobacco companies spend approximately $9.1 billion per year to market products. The State of Ohio spends $739.7 million on programs to prevent teens from starting tobacco along with helping smokers quit.
Advertising of products is a main concern for Raney and her department as many tobacco retailers are located all throughout the Village of New Lexington. In her packet of information, she stated that tobacco companies are exposing children to advertising. One in four high school students use electronic cigarettes. The use of electronic cigarette products in high school has risen by 135 percent since 2017.
Raney also gave the council resolutions to consider making it an effort to limit and prevent tobacco usage in teens. The first proposed resolution limits the distance of tobacco retailers to a half mile from one another. The second proposed resolution requires posting a “quit line” information in all tobacco retailers within the Village corporation limits. The third and final proposed resolution requires tobacco retail clerks meet the minimum legal age to sell.
Raney intends on meeting with the Village Council’s planning commission with drafts of proposed policies.