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Council Passes Licensing Requirement for Tobacco, Vaping Retailers

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Starting Nov. 9, retailers wanting to sell tobacco, electronic smoking devices, and vaping supplies will have to be licensed by Franklin County Public Health Department.

At its Oct. 10 regular meeting, Hilliard City Council members approved legislation that will require retailers to apply for a tobacco retail license and pay an application fee. Franklin County Public Health will issue the licenses and will have the authority to revoke them if a retailer violates tobacco or electronic cigarette sales laws.

Existing and new retailers will be required to attain the license. They will receive informational letters and site visits with information on the requirements and how to apply.

In particular, the new law enabling this licensing is aimed at curtailing the sale of tobacco, electronic smoking devices, and vaping products to individuals under age 21. It also will prohibit any new tobacco retail license from being issued to any business within 1,000 feet of a youth-oriented facility, such as schools and day cares.

City Council approved a separate ordinance earlier this year prohibiting the sale of these products to anyone under age 21.

City Prosecutor Dawn Steele said the goal is to keep vaping and tobacco supplies out of the hands of underage people by training retailers – and by having legislation that would impact the businesses economically for violations.

“So often, young people do not realize the long-term impacts to their lives that some of their teenage decisions can have,” Steele said. “By focusing on education, diversion, and – as a last resort – legal penalties, we believe Hilliard can send the message that we’re aware of the problem, we care about our community’s youth, and we want to see young people grow up to lead healthy, addiction-free lives.”

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