Petition Closed

Stop Youth Smoking: Support changing the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21 in Toledo

This petition had 61 supporters

We need YOUR help to put a STOP to Youth Smoking!

Please join us in supporting the Tobacco 21 Ordinance to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 in Toledo, Ohio. Thus far, over 220 cities in 17 states including New York City, Kansas City, Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, and San Francisco, and the entire states of Hawaii and California, have taken this important step in protecting our children.

Why is the Tobacco 21 policy needed?

Tobacco remains one of the single largest preventable causes of death in the U.S. among older adults and most tobacco use is found to begin before the age of 18. Prolonged tobacco use leads to adverse negative health effects, including increase likelihood  to develop heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer, asthma, pregnancy difficulties, poor dental health, decrease bone density, and others. According to the Institute of Medicine, adults who have become daily smokers, approximately 90 percent reported first use of cigarettes before reaching 19 years of age, and almost 100 percent reported first use before age 26. 

This policy change (legal age to buy tobacco 18 to 21) is needed because the youth of our community are engaging in tobacco use at a very early age. Lucas County is comprised of the cities of Toledo, Maumee, Oregon, Sylvania, and Waterville. According to the most recent Lucas County Health Assessment conducted in 2013/2014, 22% of Lucas County 7th-12th grade youth had tried cigarette smoking, 16% of those who had smoked a whole cigarette did so at 10 years old or younger, and 31% had done so by 12 years old. 

How will this affect store owners sales?

Tobacco sales to 18-20 year olds are only 2% of retail tobacco sales. So, potentially on a national level store owners would possibly only lose up to 2% of sales.

Does the Tobacco 21 policy work?

In 2005, Needham, Massachusetts was the first town in the US to enact a law raising the legal purchase age to 21. As a result, smoking rates decreased by 47%, three times as much in the four years following as rates in towns surrounding Needham. Since then, over 100 Massachusetts towns and counties have done the same, including Boston.

18 year olds can vote and join the military why shouldn't they be able to purchase tobacco?

Brain development is not complete until the 20’s, and nicotine may chemically alter a teen’s developing brain, making them more susceptible to nicotine addiction later. At this vulnerable age, teenagers may also incur more lasting damage from tobacco smoke. 

Does the majority support the Tobacco 21 policy?

75% of nationally surveyed adults, including from current smokers and from individuals aged 18-21, who would be most impacted by the law. Public support is consistent across all regions of the US and is higher than support for raising the age to 19 or 20 years. The policy has also been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Our hope is that this call for change in Toledo will inspire similar changes throughout Ohio. You can help Toledo get closer to being a healthier, smoke-free community by signing this petition. In doing so, you are standing with us, asking our local, elected officials to support and pursue changing the minimum purchase age of tobacco from 18 to 21.

To learn more about the Tobacco 21 movement please visit:



Today: Claire is counting on you

Claire Copa needs your help with “Stop Youth Smoking: Support changing the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21 in Toledo”. Join Claire and 60 supporters today.