LAKEMORE  During the April 1 Lakemore Village Council meeting, several people spoke about the Tobacco 21 issue, which would raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21.

Danielle Starkey, assistant principal at Springfield Junior/Senior High School, spoke in support of the Tobacco 21 initiative. She expressed concerns of the increased vaping epidemic at Springfield and passed around paraphernalia confiscated from students since September 2018. She also provided statistics regarding the increasing use of vaping products by teenagers.

Also speaking to council members was Donna Skoda, commissioner of the Summit County Public Health District. Skoda said she does not believe an 18-year-old person is an adult and stated the long-term effects of smoking on young teens are worse than originally thought. The long-term effects of vaping by young teens is unknown. Skoda said no health organization realized the opioid crises was going to become so extreme early on. She confirmed health organizations are working to institute initiatives such as Tobacco 21 to reduce the negative effects the products and use will have on society. 

Amin Abraham, owner of the PitStop Market at 1474 Lake Road, spoke against the Tobacco 21 initiative. He said he is already forced to police his establishment with difficulty. He believes the fines are excessive when a clerk mistakenly sells to a “minor." Abraham did say that the age of an adult should be increased to 21 years rather than 18 years to eliminate the problems.

Corey Kendrick, of the Summit County Public Health District, reiterated the evidence-based statistics. Kendrick rebutted some of the information provided by Abraham. Kendrick attended other communities’ meetings debating the Tobacco 21 legislation and said that tobacco use has decreased nationally but has increased in Ohio.

Councilman Sam Ray thanked the representatives from the Health Department and Mayor Rick Justice for providing information. He asked council to consider tabling the vote of the ordinance allowing for further discussion since new information had been provided regarding military exemption of the law. 

President Richard Cole stated he is willing to put the initiative on as a referendum at the polls so residents could.

The issue was tabled and will be discussed further.

Other news:

- Justice reminded residents that the recycling program has changed. New information is available on the website,  https://lakemoreohio.org. Carts will be delivered to replace bins. Pick up days will change to bi-weekly. Justice also explained the village is awaiting the opening of the asphalt plants to begin making effective roadway improvements. Only temporary patching material is available now.

- Other approved business included the acceptance of the resignations from Daniel Hymes and Daniel Chapman from the Fire Department.

Announcements:

- Annual Clean Up Lakemore Day Saturday, April 27 at 9 a.m. at Waterworks Park. Refreshments will be ready at noon.

- The Kenny Ray Jr Memorial Parkway road dedication will be April 30 at 6 p.m.

- Lakemore United Methodist Church will begin accepting applications for the Summer Fun program.

- Applications are now being accepted for plots at the community garden.