/ Modified oct 9, 2019 3:46 p.m.

Tucson to discuss tougher tobacco ordinance after failed effort with county

The city-only version comes three weeks after county supervisors killed a cooperative plan to raise the smoking age.

Vaping e-cigarette The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says e-cigarettes are unsafe for kids, teens and young adults.
Erica Crossen/U.S. Air Force

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The city of Tucson could ban tobacco sales to people younger than 21, under an ordinance the council will discuss Thursday afternoon. The city is going it alone after a joint plan with Pima County failed to pass.

Three weeks ago, Pima County supervisors killed a plan for a cooperative effort with Tucson aimed at blocking 18-20 year olds from buying products for smoking or vaping. The plan was a compromise with retailers who didn't want to face stiff penalties for violations, but tobacco opponents said it was too lenient. City Council member Steve Kozachik says he's glad it failed.

"Even the proponents were saying that they would not support the county passing that watered-down version. Nor would we have," Kozachik said.

The new city proposal would assess a fine with every violation, and tobacco sellers would see a seven-day suspension for the second violation. A store hit with a fourth violation would lose its tobacco selling privileges for one year.

If adopted, the ordinance would make Tucson the fifth Arizona city to raise the age for buying tobacco to 21. The others are Cottonwood, Douglas, Flagstaff and Goodyear. It's partly a response to the rise in "vaping" among young people.

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