The Florida legislature will once again consider a statewide increase in the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, as Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, has introduced a new bill seeking the change.
S. 1288 would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21-years-old, with retailers who sell to a person under 21 would facing a fine of up to $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for a second. An individual under 21 who attempts to buy tobacco products by misrepresenting his age would face mandatory community service, with 20 hours prescribed for a first violation and 40 hours for a second violation within one year if found guilty of the noncriminal violation.
Last year, Sen. Darryl Ervin Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, introduced a similar bill that sought to make the tobacco purchasing age 21-years-old. It died in the Senate’s Committee on Regulated Industries.
Currently five states have or will have a minimum purchasing age of 21-years-old for tobacco products: Hawaii, California, New Jersey, and Maine have already increased the age, while Oregon’s increase will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
The Florida Legislature’s 2018 session begins on Jan. 9, 2018.