Florida Senate bill aims to raise smoking age to 21

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WSVN) - A bill in the Florida Senate aims to raise the legal age of smoking from 18 to 21 years old.

Senate Bill 1138 states that it is intended to prevent the sale of tobacco products to people under the age of 21 in the state. It would make an exception for anyone under the age of 21 who is in the military reserve or on active duty.

The bill, introduced by Senator Darryl Rouson, a Democrat from St. Petersburg, would amend an existing Florida statute that restricts the sale of tobacco products to those 18 and over.

If passed, Florida would become the third state to increase the smoking age, joining California and Hawaii, which both ban tobacco from being sold to customers under the age of 21. Hundreds of cities have their own local ordinances with the same age restrictions, including New York City, Chicago, Boston, and Cleveland.

Anti-tobacco groups have been pushing to increase age restrictions on tobacco sales, including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.  They say raising the tobacco sale age would “significantly reduce” the number of teens and young adults who take up smoking.

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