18 to 20-year-olds can no longer purchase tobacco in Rexburg after July 15

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REXBURG — Tobacco will soon become illegal to purchase by anyone under 21 within Rexburg city limits.

The Rexburg City Council unanimously decided Wednesday, to change a city ordinance to prohibit anyone under 21-year-old from purchasing tobacco products. The ordinance will go into effect on July 15.

“I certainly support the youth in Rexburg who brought this forward,” City Councilman Chris Mann told EastIdahoNews.com. “I think it’s a good bill. It makes sense to raise it to the same age as alcohol consumption.”

The change in the ordinance was originally proposed by the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board, a group of Madison High and Junior High School students, who work with the mayor to provide information, do research and oversee community projects, according to the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board webpage.

Much of the information the students presented to the city council came from Tobacco 21, a national organization that seeks to prevent tobacco use in youth through a variety of ways including education and legislation.

The ordinance does not prohibit people under 21 from using tobacco products; it only prohibits them from purchasing it within the city.

A state bill was also recently introduced in the legislature by Sen. Fred Martin (R-Boise) that would raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products and electronic cigarettes from 18 to 21 statewide. Currently, there are five other states that have passed similar laws. The bill is still in the State Affairs committee.

The proposed state legislation defines tobacco products as any product that contains tobacco. Additionally, the law defines electronic cigarettes as any electronic device that can deliver an inhaled dose of nicotine in a vaporized form.

Mann said he hopes Rexburg’s passage of this new ordinance will send a message to the legislature that this is something Idaho wants.

“We’re not trying to tell adults what they can or cannot do, but we certainly worry about our young people,” Mann said. “We want to make sure we are creating a healthy as we can (sic) environment for them. And then, when they’re 21 they can make the decision whether to purchase tobacco or not.”

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