CONTACT: Rebecca Podowski, (713) 392-9756
SAN ANTONIO (January 9, 2018) – The following statement reflects District 10 City Councilman Clayton Perry’s view on the proposed Tobacco 21 ordinance:
“As the proposed ordinance currently stands, I will tell you right now that I am against the Tobacco 21. I do not agree with making one city in the entire state of Texas the sole place where legal adults are not able to exercise their legal ability to purchase a tobacco product. I am not interested in setting an arbitrary standard for adults; a standard that does not apply outside of our city limits. I am not interested in removing the ability for current 18-20 year olds to purchase tobacco products inside city limits, forcing them to take their dollars outside the city.
I do believe that tackling the consumption of tobacco products by our youth is important. I believe that as adults, we need to set the example of what a healthy lifestyle is and follow it. I believe that parents, guardians, and teachers have the opportunity to work daily with our youth to guide them in making the right choice about consuming harmful products. As a parent, I had plenty of conversations with my then-teenage children about making the right call. I do not believe that this responsibility lies with a City Council. If we are serious about modifying the age for tobacco consumption, change needs to start at the State level, not on the City Council dais.
Additionally, this ordinance directly affects the bottom line of businesses here in San Antonio who already have an incredibly high compliance rate (98%, 700 FDA inspections) in refusing to sell tobacco products to patrons under the age of 18. We've heard from retailers that indicate that when a patron comes in to buy tobacco products, they are also buying other products as well. Small business representatives have indicated that additional purchases made by 18-20 year olds who are buying tobacco products account for about 3% of business sales. This may seem like a small portion of a budget, but to a small business owner, this can make all the difference in determining next year's payroll, future expansions, or their general cost of doing business. City Council has not been willing to reduce our budget by any percent, but we are now being asked to reduce the budgets of our business community. I am not interested in passing an ordinance that will directly harm San Antonio businesses.
Again, I believe that reducing the rate of tobacco consumption for our youth is important. I do not believe this ordinance is the right way to go about that.”