City Council approved the Tobacco 21 ordinance Wednesday, which will change the age restriction on purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21 years of age.

Jeff Neistadt, the health commissioner of the Health Department, proposed the ordinance which passed nearly unanimously. Neistadt said they had performed interviews with 250 Kent committee members.

“Seventy-six percent agreed that raising the age restriction would be a good thing,” said Neistadt.

The ordinance will be enforced by the use of spot checks. Any penalty will fall on the vendor that sold the tobacco related item and not on the purchaser.

“I am concerned about those businesses that rely on the sale of these products,” said councilwoman Heidi Shaffer.

With the large population of students between the ages of 18 to 21 may affect their profits.

Kent will be joining the other 290 cities that have passed T21, along with Akron and Columbus.

Chris Spegal is the downtown reporter. Contact him at

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