Herald staff Writer
Tobacco 21 would prohibit the sale of cigarettes, other tobacco products and tobacco product paraphernalia to individuals under the age of 21.
One citizen addressed council during the legislative session Oct. 22. Director of Population Health for Summit County Corey Kendrick spoke to council about Tobacco 21 before the first reading of the ordinance. Kendrick addressed the $150 tobacco fee retailers will have to pay.
The fee would have to be paid one time and it is a tax reduction. “We are very passionate about tobacco and we are not doing this for the money,” said Kendrick.
Kendrick also addressed the economic impact tobacco has on Summit County. He claimed there is a small profit business owners make from selling tobacco. Population Health for Summit County estimated about 919 18-20-year-olds live in Barberton and out of those, 137 of them smoke cigarettes. These numbers would not reflect a big loss for retailers and he claimed it would only shift sales by a few dollars a day. Kendrick then addressed how pregnant mothers in Summit County are two times higher than the national average for smoking cigarettes. “Our 18 and 20-year-old moms are three times higher than the national average for smoking,” said Kendrick.
Mayor William Judge encourages residents to reach out and ask questions they may have about Tobacco 21.
“I don’t think the intention by any means is to hurt shop owners. It is to reduce the amount of people who are starting to smoke between 18 and 21,” said Judge.
In the streets meeting, council discussed the Street Road Salt Program. Chair member Carol Frey of the Streets Committee explained how the ordinance would cost $122,400 for the salt program to contract with Mid American Salt.The cost of road salt has skyrocketed since previous years. Forecasts report a mild winter but the committee reports they need to be prepared. Council voted to adopt the ordinance during the legislative session. Also during the streets meeting, Director of Public Service Michael Vinay reported a total of 14 streets in the city have been repaved this year. He hopes to have a web page dedicated to tracking which streets have been paved for residents to look up for reference.