YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has been against kids smoking for decades. On Thursday, he stopped a bill that would’ve limited what cities can do to stop it. He made it known that Ohio has to change to stop the smoking and vaping epidemic.
Ohio has a problem with smoking, especially among school-age children. Studies show between 15 and 30 percent of high school students are vaping.
“You know, it’s cool looking. It looks like a flash drive. It’s harder, to me, for teachers to see it,” said Erin Bishop, Youngstown’s health commissioner.
“There are some inherent flaws in using those pieces of tobacco and vape products, that they’re just not good for our young people. They’re not good for people of any age,” said Angela Divito with the Coalition for a Drug-Free Mahoning County.
On Thursday, Gov. DeWine vetoed a bill that would’ve given the state regulation over these products. Instead, he allowed communities to make decisions to protect their children.
“We will save a lot of lives. We will save a lot of children from starting down a pathway that 20 years, 25 years, 30 years that may end up costing them their lives,” Gov. DeWine said.
The veto allows Columbus to keep its ban on sales of flavored tobacco products, which starts next year.
In 2019, Youngstown made it illegal to sell tobacco to people under 21. A couple of months later, the law went statewide.
“Municipalities know better than broader approaches, what their people need,” Divito said.
So, Youngstown and Mahoning County will keep doing what they’re doing to reach children — more education in schools and encouraging parents to talk with their children about not vaping or smoking.
“If children know that that’s the expectation, then they are less likely to experiment or to adopt that habit,” Divito said.
While issuing his veto, Gov. DeWine also called on the state legislature to pass a statewide bill ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products.