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Pima County Health discuss proposal to change tobacco purchase age

Decision to raise age from 18 to 21 falls on City and County leaders
Posted: 11:36 PM, Sep 10, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-11 02:36:12-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Pima County's Health Department heard from the public and retailers one last time before a decision is made by city and county leaders regarding the age to buy tobacco products.

The decision to raise the age from 18 to 21 would fall on Tucson City Council and the Pima County Board of Supervisors.

It would also require retailers in unincorporated areas of the county to have a permit to sell tobacco products.

If the changes passed, it would affect electronic "vape" products too.

KGUN9 spoke with Program Manager of the county's Tobacco and Chronic Disease Prevention Program, Rebecca O'Brien who provided insight into the thought behind why the age is being changed specifically from 18 to 21.

"High school students who are 15, 16, 17 they likely know someone who's 18," O'Brien said, "but it's less likely that they know someone who's 21 who's able to purchase those products for them. so it's removing the older individual from the social circle."

Retailers have talked to KGUN9 opposing the change

Pima County Supervisor, Ally Miller, has also publicly opposed the change, calling it an expansion of government.

September 17th is when Tucson City Council and Pima County Supervisors are scheduled to decide whether or not to raise the age to 21 to buy tobacco products.