The minimum age to both purchase and possess tobacco and tobacco alternatives will be going to 21-years-old in Alachua County, Fla. after the county’s Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance by a 5-0 vote at its meeting on Tuesday. It’s the first county in the state to enact such an increase.
The increase applies to all areas within the county, both incorporated and unincorporated, though any municipality may opt out of the increase. It is scheduled to go into effect in nine months, according to a report by Gainesville.com.
The county chose not to make possession or use of tobacco and tobacco alternatives by persons between 18 and 21, instead choosing to prioritize the sales aspect.
Additionally, the county is requiring that all tobacco retailers in the county obtain a new tobacco retailer license. Additionally, any new tobacco retailers will be required to be at least 1,000 feet away from a school. Self-service displays are now banned as well, unless the business only allows persons over 21-years-old to enter.
Alachua County is located in north central Florida and includes the city of Gainesville, which is where the University of Florida is located. It is home to approximately 267,000 residents.