A bill has been introduced this week to raise the legal smoking age in Florida from 18 to 21.
If passed, Florida would be the sixth state to increase the legal smoking age, according to a report by WFTV 9 ABC.
State Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, is sponsoring Senate Bill 1288, which would raise the minimum legal age to 21 to buy cigarettes, tobacco chew and electronic vaping products.
The senator says that raising the age by just a few years will significanly decrease the number of young smokers and that it’s between 18 and 21 when most people become addicted to smoking, WFTV reported.
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He also said that by reducing the number of smokers, people would see health care costs decrease, as well.
But opponents say that if an 18-year-old can vote, get married and serve in the military, they can make the decision if they want to smoke, too.
And while that may be true, Simmons argues that regulating tobacco products is no different than restricting drinking and driving or texting and driving, the outlet reported.
Under the measure, a first offender would be sentenced to 20 hours of community service and 40 hours if a second offense happens within a year. Businesses that sell tobacco products to underage customers would be fined up to $500 for a first offense and up to $1,000 for a second.