Home News Ohio Attorney General Cracks Down on Illegal Vape Sales to Protect Youth

Ohio Attorney General Cracks Down on Illegal Vape Sales to Protect Youth


COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has launched a vigorous campaign to combat the proliferation of illegal vaping devices across Ohio, focusing on safeguarding young people from addiction and serious health risks associated with these products.

Highlighting the dangers posed by unregulated vape cartridges, Yost emphasized the critical need for consumer protection, especially for Ohio’s youth who are vulnerable to the unknown substances contained in these products during critical stages of development.

Today, Yost took decisive action by filing complaints against three Ohio businesses under the state Consumer Sales Practices Act. Allegations include the unlawful sale of flavored vapes, failure to disclose the products’ illegal status, and misrepresentation of their authorization status.

Investigations conducted by Yost’s office uncovered that Orrville Tobacco and Vape Shop in Orrville (Wayne County), Central Tobacco in Delaware, and Elev8 Smoke Shop in Cincinnati continued to sell unauthorized flavored vapes despite receiving a warning letter from Yost’s office on April 5, 2024. Of particular concern was Elev8 Smoke Shop’s close proximity to Norwood High School, heightening worries about accessibility to minors.

The illicit sale of unauthorized vapes poses grave public health risks, with harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, present in many of these products. These dangers are compounded for Ohio’s adolescents, who are increasingly drawn to electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) due to their appealing flavors and discreet designs resembling everyday items like pens or USB drives.

Under federal law, all new tobacco products, including vapes, must obtain pre-market authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they can be legally sold in the United States. Currently, only 27 e-cigarette products, all of which are tobacco or menthol-flavored, have received FDA approval. Any vape products lacking FDA authorization are illegal under federal law, yet continue to be sold in Ohio.

Vapes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among middle and high school students nationwide. In 2023, 2.1 million students reported current use of vapes, reflecting rates of 9% among Ohio middle-schoolers and 20% among high-schoolers.

The addictive nature of nicotine in vapes can severely impact adolescent brain development, affecting functions such as attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.

Attorney General Yost reaffirmed his commitment to enforcing stringent measures against violators of vape regulations, underscoring the ongoing efforts to protect Ohio’s youth from the perils of illegal vaping.