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Florida Lawmakers Are Looking To Raise The Smoking Age From 18 To 21

Itay Kabalo on Unsplash

The senate’s Health Policy committee wants to align the sales age of tobacco products to that of alcohol, making it tougher for teens to get access to cigarettes and vaping devices. 

Vice chair, Lori Berman says she supports the bill.

“Vaping has never been defined by the Food and Drug Administration as a smoking cessation device. If all the people who vape think it is a smoking cessation device then I suggest that they get it defined as a smoking cessation device, which case then it would probably be allowed for people who are younger,” she says.

Soldiers on a military base can follow the federal law, which grants 18-year olds the freedom to smoke. During public testimony, Adrian Taylor said restrictions on electronic cigarettes is not the right move. He says the devices helped him quit smoking and Taylor argues the measure isn’t consistent with other adult rights.

“At 18 we’re able to vote and must serve on a jury if selected. We become responsible for our credit, we can buy lottery tickets, a house, at 18 I’m legally required under penalty of law is signed for selected services also known as the draft," he says. We can sign legal documents, change our name, get married or divorced cause I’m legally now an adult. I hope that my government will continue to follow or continue to allow 18-year olds continue to use vapor devices. So far it saved my life and I believe it helps others.”                                        

Republican Senator Aaron Bean says he’s torn, because a person is considered an adult by law at the age of 18.   

“There’s consequences not only with smoking but with also vaping to put that out that there to help fight. But I’m still torn. I’m still torn because sooner or later the little birds leave the nest and they have to make their own decision and we’ve always identified that as 18 years old,” he says.                                                                      

A majority of the Health Policy committee voted in favor of the bill. A house companion has yet to receive a hearing, and previous efforts to raise the smoking age have failed. If more headway is made, Florida would be the 8th state to adopt this health measure. The seven other states are California, Oregon, Maine, Virginia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.