Bipartisan bill could raise Florida's legal smoking age

Looking for to stem the ranks of longtime people who smoke who start lighting up of their youth, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers have filed payments to boost Florida’s authorized smoking age from 18 to 21.

  • Florida invoice might increase authorized smoking age to 21
  • Elevating smoking age might scale back cigarette tax income
  • eighty % of grownup people who smoke began earlier than 18

If the laws (SB 1288/HB 1029) have been to grow to be regulation, Florida would be a part of 5 different states which have lately raised their tobacco ages to 21.

Almost 300 localities, together with New York Metropolis, Chicago and Boston, have additionally carried out ordinances banning smoking by anybody beneath 21.

“Elevating the authorized age will save a projected early lack of lifetime of 270,000 younger lives at $eight.6 billion in well being care prices,” Rep. Don Hahnfeldt (R-The Villages), one of many sponsors of HB 1029, stated in a press release.

The federally-funded Nationwide Survey on Drug Use and Well being has discovered almost eighty % of grownup people who smoke started lighting up earlier than turning 18.

As a result of individuals buying cigarettes must look three years older, the laws might have the impact of decreasing unintentional gross sales to minors.

The proposal comes as excellent news to Hope Carrasquilla, a mom of three boys whose oldest son is 15. She questioned the logic of protecting Florida’s authorized smoking age at 18 when the consuming age is 21, noting that three further years of maturation might help younger adults make higher life decisions.

“I feel it has to do with cash. You realize, we subsidize the tobacco farmers and such, and it is a massive moneymaker,” Carrasquilla stated. “They need to get ’em as younger as they will and get them hooked as quickly as they probably can, and everybody is aware of it is a very addictive substance.”

However the payments won’t take pleasure in common help.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage just lately vetoed laws to boost his state’s smoking age to 21, calling it an try and “social engineer our lives” and arguing that if 18-yr-olds can vote and serve within the army, they need to be capable of select whether or not to smoke.

The veto was finally overridden by lawmakers, although some conservatives within the Florida Legislature might share LePage’s sentiments.

Elevating the smoking age might additionally scale back cigarette tax revenues. That, in flip, might additional weaken the state’s monetary footing, a state of affairs many lawmakers wish to keep away from as state economists warn of doubtless price range deficits.

The proposal’s supporters, nevertheless, say the well being care financial savings that would accompany a better smoking age would simply counteract any hit to the state finances.

“Roughly 1.5 million packs of cigarettes are bought for minors yearly,” stated Rep. Lori Berman (D-Boynton Seashore). “I’m hopeful this invoice will forestall our youth from taking over the tobacco behavior.”

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