Tucson council increases age minimum to purchase tobacco, nicotine products

Published: Oct. 11, 2019 at 8:10 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Tucson City Council will formally vote to raise the age to purchase tobacco products inside the city limits Oct. 22.

It voted 4-3 for preliminary approval at its afternoon meeting Thursday, Oct. 10.

The new ordinance includes tobacco, tobacco distribution products as well as nicotine and nicotine distribution products like vape pens and e-cigarettes.

The ordinance will not effect areas outside Tucson city limits.

“We have surveyed, the Lung Association has surveyed, the Cancer Society has surveyed,” said Ward 6 Council member Steve Kozachik, one of the four to support the measure. “And just about 70 percent of the population supports what we did.”

You can read the ordinance here.

Ward 3 member, Paul Durham, made passage of the ordinance his cause. He cited the 1,300 young people who have fallen ill due to vaping and 26 who have died as a driving force behind the measure.

“Voters elected us to lead and they now have our backs on this one,” he said.

If it gets final approval, it will go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Still, the city lacks a large scale enforcement mechanism.

It will charge every retail outlet which wants to sell the products, $300 for an annual license.

To keep it, the retailers must comply with the ordinance of face fines and revocation.

“We’ll start using young people as decoys,” he said. “They’ll walk in and try to buy cigarettes and vaping supplies and see if the retailer complies.”

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