SAN ANTONIO – A new ordinance taking effect in San Antonio on Monday means that anyone under the age of 21 will now be prohibited from buying tobacco products.

  • Tobacco buying age raised to 21
  • New ordinance in effect only within city limits
  • Group hopes to extend ordinance state wide

The Tobacco 21 ordinance raises the age to purchase tobacco products to 21 years old within San Antonio city limits.

A group spent months pushing for the legal age to be raised from 18 to 21. Back in January, City Council approved the new ordinance, agreeing that it could help prevent young people from smoking cigarettes or e-cigarettes.

According to Metro Health, tobacco is the leading cause of disease, disability and death in the United States. Additionally, 95 percent of adult smokers started before the age of 21.

However, there are some people who don't think the ordinance will make much of a difference. While the law is in effect in city limits, opponents said people who want to get the products can cross the street to another municipality to get them. 

Metro Health is fighting to get Tobacco 21 to the state level. 

"They are going to check and make sure the appropriate signage is posted. They are going to check and make sure that the training log is up to date and complete and showing that all the employees have been trained about the new age, and then occasionally we will do undercover decoy visits," Metro Health Director Dr. Colleen Bridger said. 

Metro Health clarified that anyone under the age of 21 found in possession of tobacco products will not be cited. Citations for retailers who sell to people under 21 won’t be issued until after Jan. 1, 2019. Warning will be issued until Jan. 1, 2018. The fine is $500.