Upper Arlington News

Effective March 26

City prohibits sale of e-cigarettes to minors

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The sale of electronic cigarettes to anyone younger than 18 soon will be illegal in Upper Arlington.

Upper Arlington City Council unanimously approved a local ordinance Feb. 24 to ban the sale of e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine to minors, a move that followed similar action taken by Ohio legislators last week.

The statewide ban still requires Ohio Gov. John Kasich's signature and won't go into effect for 150 days after that.

Upper Arlington's law will become effective March 26.

Assistant City Attorney Thad Boggs said he believes the city is the first community in Ohio to pass a local ban.

"To my knowledge, we are the first," he said.

Boggs and City Attorney Jeanine Hummer presented the local proposal at council's first meeting of the year. At the time, they said it was in response to concerns raised by parents in the community.

Anyone found guilty of selling e-cigarettes or liquid nicotine to a minor in Upper Arlington could be charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a maximum fine of $250.

If that person has a previous conviction for illegal sales of e-cigarettes to minors, he or she could receive a jail sentence of up to 60 days and a fine of $500.

Unless accompanied by a parent, any minor found in possession of an e-cigarette or liquid nicotine could be ordered to complete smoking-education or treatment programs and would be subject to a fine of up to $100.

Underage offenders also could be required to perform up to 20 hours of community service and could have their driving privileges revoked for 30 days. The same penalties are already on city books for underage use of conventional cigarettes.

The local law also requires sellers of e-cigarettes to check the identification of anyone who appears to be age 30 or younger; that seller would face the same penalties in place for illegal sales if he or she fails to verify that a customer is 18 or older.

Upper Arlington's law also goes beyond the pending statewide ban, in that it prohibits the use of e-cigarettes for ingesting or inhaling controlled substances.

Anyone within the city found to have adapted an e-cigarette to ingest or inhale a controlled substance could be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and, if convicted, could face up to a $1,000 fine and 180 days in jail.

"This is very in-depth analysis," Councilman Erik Yassenoff told Boggs and Hummer. "Thank you for all your hard work."

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