Ban on Teen Smoking to Affect Sin Tax

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Cleveland City Council this week (Mon)  passed an ordinance to ban the sale of cigarettes to anyone under 21.  

Council wants the health department to police the sales.   Ideatream’s Mark Urycki reports on the effect the new law will have on arts funding in the county.



Estimates differ on how many Ohioans smoke cigarettes, about 23 to 25%, but Ohio consistently ranks among the top 10 states for smoking.  

Recipients of sin taxes in the county will also lose something.   One tax on cigarettes and alcohol sales goes to maintain the three professional sports stadiums.  Another goes to the arts.    30 cents of each pack goes to support the arts in Cuyahoga County.   The executive director of Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, Karen Gahl-Mills isn’t sure what banning sales to teenagers will do to their funding.

“We need to do some homework about exactly how much a financial impact that will have.  I would say it’s probably a minimal impact because it’s just the city of Cleveland.   But there will certainly be some impact on our revenues.” 

When the arts tax began 10 years ago it brought in $19 million dollars a year.  But Gahl-Mills projects that to be down to $15 million next year.

“It is shrinking more slowly than we originally thought about and it is shrinking for a couple of reasons. Certainly there is a decline in smoking in general   and there also appears to be a shift on smoking tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes.  And of course our tax is only on the tobacco cigarettes.” 

Cleveland City council’s ordinance also bans the sale of e-cigarettes to people under 21.  The mayor has three months to sign it into law.

Members are considering a further restriction that flavored-cigarettes only be sold at tobacco shops.  


ideastream benefits from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.


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