UT students lobbying to raise the age to buy tobacco

UT students lobbying to raise the age to buy tobacco

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Raising the age to buy tobacco has been a state-wide hot topic that has faced much criticism in Ohio.

Health Education students and their professor say they are close to getting the Toledo City Council to raise the age from 18 to 21. The Toledo community is starting to catch on to the idea.

Driving on west on Airport Highway in Springfield Township, drivers will see a billboard with a message that says the age to purchase tobacco needs to be raised to 21.

For them, it goes beyond just a class project.

"My mother passed just about a month ago and she had COPD, chronic obstructed pulmonary disease," said Tavis Glassman, School of Population Health at the University of Toledo. "She was on oxygen for the last five years of her life. It restricted her retirement years. Really very, very sad. If we had better laws enforced maybe she would have never go addicted in the first place."

This health education professor says his mother was a long-time smoker. He's determined to better the health of our population.

Professor Glassman and his students are working to make 21 the legal age to buy tobacco in the City of Toledo. They're using the pressure of election season to urge city council members seeking re-election to make this change a law.

"We got the Push For Prevention gr ant. With this gr ant we started the campaign," said Claire Copa, University of Toledo Health Education, Ph.D Student. "We're talking with local champions in the community, policymakers. We're holding a summit meeting in May to hopefully gain support so that we can take this to City Council and say the community wants this."

The summit will be May 19.

The group has an online petition to help gain support and show the city council they want the smoking age changed.

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