A bill in the Florida Senate that seeks to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products and alternatives such as e-cigarettes to 21-years-old cleared its first legislative hurdle on Monday, passing the Senate Health Committee by a 9-1 vote.
The bill, S.B. 1618, was introduced earlier this month by Sen. David Simmons, R-Longwood. In addition to the age increase, it would also prohibit the sale of tobacco products via vending machines, as well as changes the penalty for selling tobacco to an underage person a noncriminal penalty as opposed to a criminal penalty. It also modifies the penalty for delivering tobacco to an underage person on behalf of a delivery service.
The bill is still scheduled to get hearings by the Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee as well as the Rules Committee before it would head to the floor for a full vote. If passed as currently written, the increase would go into effect on Oct. 1, 2019.