Florida will not be among the states to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21-years-old, as a bill seeking the increase died in the Seante’s Regulated Industries committee over the weekend.
On Saturday, the committee decided to indefinitely postpone S. 1288 and withdraw it from further consideration, rendering it dead this session.
The bill was introduced by Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, and sought to 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 attempted 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.
It’s the second straight year that a proposed increase has died in the Sunshine State, as 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, too, died in the Senate’s Committee on Regulated Industries.
Five states have moved to make the minimum age 21-years-old: California, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey and Oregon have all raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21-years-old. Legislation remains active in Minnesota and Illinois seeking a similar increase.
Update — Shortly after this article was published, it was learned that Washington’s tobacco purchase age increase will not get approval this session.