The Grandview Heights City Council approved an ordinance last night that will make it an unclassified misdemeanor for anyone under age 21 to smoke a cigarette or use a tobacco product in the city.
Like Bexley and Upper Arlington’s new tobacco laws, the Grandview Heights law makes it a crime to sell tobacco products to anyone younger than 21. But the Grandview ordinance takes it a step further – also criminalizing possession of tobacco by anyone under 21.
The Columbus Dispatch (citing the Tobacco 21 Project) notes that Grandview might be the first city in Ohio to also give police the power to charge the underage tobacco user with a crime.
Grandview Heights Tobacco Law for Tobacco Retailers
For retailers, the new law will ban the sale of cigarettes and tobacco, liquid nicotine, electronic devices, hookahs or any other smoking-related products to those younger than 21.
For a first offense, the retailer will receive a warning.
For a second offense, a retailer could face a fourth-degree misdemeanor charge punishable by 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.
Grandview Heights Tobacco Law for People Under Age 21
For an underage smoker charged under the new law, the offender would be charged with an unclassified misdemeanor and could:
- Be ordered to take a smoking-education class,
- Pay a fine of $100 and
- Perform 20 hours of community service.
Possible Defenses to Grandview Heights Tobacco Law for Underage Smokers
If an underage person is charged with possession of tobacco underage, possible defenses could include:
- The underage person was accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, or a spouse who was 21 or older, or
- The underage person was using a smoking-related product under the “care or supervision of a medical provider.”
The new law will take effect in 30 days.
If you have been charged with underage tobacco possession in Grandview, talk with one of our Grandview Heights criminal defense attorneys about your options to reduce the charge in the Grandview Mayor’s Court.