Herald Staff Writer
The legal age to purchase tobacco products in the city of Barberton remains 18 after City Council voted against Tobacco 21.
At the Nov. 26 meeting, Shannon Conrad-Wokojance was the only council member who voted for T21. In her statement she gave prior to the vote, she urged council to help create an inconvenience barrier that would prohibit young people from buying cigarettes in Barberton. She is passionate about the tobacco ordinance because of her experiences with smoking at a young age.
The council members who voted against it and gave reasons for their vote had similar responses. They said it would be more effective if it was a statewide ballot issue and they don’t want the responsibility of taking rights away from 18-year-olds because they are legal adults.
Before the vote, community members, health care workers, and school officials addressed why they are for, or against T21. Jeff Ramnytz, Barberton superintendent, explained why he is for the legislation. Ramnytz gave reasons as to why the maturity level of an 18-year-old differs from the level of a 21-year-old. He gave examples of students who have returned to his office and apologized for how they behaved in high school and have since then changed their behavior and mindset.
In other business, a special safety committee meeting was held to discuss the taxicab ordinance. Council adopted the ordinance. Last week they discussed changing the wording of the ordinance because it is written in a way that prohibits taxicabs stationed outside of the city to operate within the city.
The dates were changed in the ordinance so they can begin taxi service immediately upon the mayor’s signature instead of Dec. 31. The fees are waived for applicable companies for the rest of the year.