A bill seeking to raise Florida’s minimum age to purchase tobacco, electronic cigarettes to 21-years-old met its demise in the state’s House of Representatives on Wednesday, as House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Hialeah, said that it will not advance in the lower chamber.
Speaking to reporters, Oliva called it a dead issue, saying that he felt that there are enough members of the House who feel that 18-years-old is the age when people are adults and thus able to make their own decisions, according to News4Jax.com.
Oliva is the former ceo of Oliva Cigar Co. and remains and advisor to the company.
The Senate passed its version of the bill by a 33-6 vote on Monday, though not after it came under heavy scrutiny and criticism by numerous parties. The bill originally contained an exemption to the increase for cigars, meaning the minimum age to purchase those products would remain at 18-years-old, while all other tobacco products would increase to 21-year-old. Additionally, an exemption to the increase was added for active members of the military if they had identification, as was a provision that would prevent municipalities from enacting restrictions on tobacco advertising, changes that were seen as a way to make passage by the House as easy as possible.
Oliva’s announcement means that Florida will not join the growing group of more than 10 states who have enacted what is referred to as Tobacco 21 legislation, though several bills have been introduced at the federal level which could ultimately make the same change.