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Cottonwood Becomes First AZ City to Ban Tobacco for Those Under 21
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04 May 2016   Doug Bartosh
In 30 days, you’ll have to be 21 in order to purchase, use, possess or be sold tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, and vapor products in the City of Cottonwood

Last night during the regular scheduled meeting of the Cottonwood City Council, the Mayor and Councilmembers unanimously adopted City of Cottonwood Ordinance 620 raising the age from 18 to 21 at which individuals may purchase, use, possess or be sold tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, and vapor products.

The ordinance was the result of a program called Tobacco 21 and the city council was asked to consider the program and to pass an ordinance supporting raising the age for tobacco use to 21 by the Yavapai Anti-Tobacco Coalition of Youth (YATCY) that is affiliated with Yavapai County Community Health Services. The YATCY group had previously encouraged the city council to designate smoking areas in the city’s park areas to prevent adults from smoking in the areas where youth were playing and participating in sports.

The youth group presented a compelling argument to the city council underscored by pertinent data on the health impacts of tobacco addiction for youth under 21 years of age as well as the results from those cities that have already adopted a Tobacco 21 ordinance. Statistics cited include:

“An estimated 5.6 million youth aged 0 to 17 are projected to die prematurely from tobacco-related illness if prevalence rates do not change”.

“National data show that 95 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21, and that ages 18 to 21 are a critical period when many users of tobacco and nicotine move from experimentation to regular, daily use.”

“Young minds are particularly susceptible to addictive properties of tobacco and nicotine, and that those who start smoking by the age of 18 are almost twice as likely to become lifetime users as those who start after they turn 21.”

The City Council also heard from representatives of the retail store and e-cigarette industries during the meeting.

Mayor Joens stated, “The City Council’s decision to support Ordinance 620 was based on their concern for the health of the Cottonwood community and, in particular, the health of our youth. We listened to both sides of the issue and we all agreed that we needed to place the health of our youth as a top priority.”

Please find attached a copy of the complete ordinance. Police Chief Steve Gesell stated during the council meeting that his officers would continue to focus on educating both retailers and the youth and that each potential violation would be assessed by the goal of preventing further use of tobacco by those under the age of 21.

The ordinance will take effect in 30 days.