A second round of community hearings about raising the nicotine purchasing age from 18 to 21 is slated for September after city and county officials delayed voting on the proposed ordinance earlier this month.
On Aug. 6, the Pima County Board of Supervisors decided to return the proposal to the health department for additional hearings, after expressing concern about proposed penalties for business owners and the lack of stakeholder input after the ordinance was drafted.
The Tucson City Council followed suit during a study session later in the day, after Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said that the city’s proposed ordinance was dependent on the county’s participation.
The health department held 12 community meetings in February and March to get stakeholder input while drafting the ordinance, but the stakeholders never got to review the ordinance after it was drafted, which some supervisors said was a problem.
The second round of meetings, set for Sept. 3 and 10, will provide businesses, organizations and the public the opportunity to share their opinions and ask questions about the ordinance that was presented to supervisors earlier this month, according to a county news release.
The proposed changes would raise the minimum legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old, create a retail permit system for tobacco retailers in unincorporated Pima County and amend language to the current ordinance to include vape products.
Feedback collected at the meetings will be included in a report that will be shared with the supervisors, along with the comments gathered during the first 12 meetings, the news release said.
Those who cannot attend in person can share their opinions via an online feedback form at pima.gov/health. Comments must be received by Sept. 10 to be included in the report.