Genesee County tobacco ban on hold...for now - WNEM TV 5

Genesee County tobacco ban on hold...for now

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A decision that would block people under the age of 21 from buying cigarettes and other tobacco products in Genesee County has been suspended.

The change was supposed to take effect on Monday, May 15, but is on hold until a hearing with a Genesee County judge. That hearing has been rescheduled to take place on June 19.

On Monday there was confusion about whether or not the ban was going into effect.

County Commissioners met Monday to discuss the future of the Tobacco 21 Ordinance.

County Commissioner Drew Shapiro is against the new age limit and the organization pushing it.

"Things like Tobacco 21 are for people who care more about optics than ethics, more about doing than duty," Shapiro said.

He was one of the two commissioners against the vote. However, he is not the only one trying to stop the new law from going into effect.

RPF Oil has also joined forces to stop the ordinance. They filed a lawsuit against the county.

Supporters of Tobacco 21 said it's for a greater good.

Kay Doerr, with the health department, said most tobacco addiction starts before the age of 21 and the law would help people live longer, healthier lives.

"It's just that Genesee County young people deserve the same kind of protections that kids in other places like Ann Arbor, where this is enforced and has been since the beginning of the year," Doerr said.

Members of the board that support the law have agreed to suspend the enforcement pending a county judge's decision. 

Shapiro said he fears the law will hurt some local businesses.

"The other thing is very important for people to realize is that it's not illegal for anyone under 21 and over 18 to use tobacco products. It's just illegal to sell it to them," Shapiro said.

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