Palmetto considers raising smoking age to 21

Manatee County

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

PALMETTO, Fla. (WFLA) – A Palmetto city official is working on a proposal for an ordinance to curb teen tobacco use by raising the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products to 21, News Channel 8 has learned.

The Bradenton Herald reports assistant city clerk Amber LaRowe and Ally Bergmann, associate director of Drug Free Manatee, have partnered up to craft the proposal, but their work is still in the early stages.

At a city commission workshop Monday, LaRowe argued in favor of raising the minimum age for buying tobacco products, citing some measures the city has taken, which she believes were effective in curbing teen drug use, as well as other legislation to curb teenage vaping taking effect across the country.

“The next step is to draft an Ordinance to present to the Commission for a first read. After that reading, a public hearing will be set. No specific date as of yet as I am still drafting the Ordinance,” LaRowe said in an e-mail to News Channel 8.

In recent weeks, 18 states along with Washington, DC and more than 500 localities have raised the tobacco age to 21, and the Trump administration proposed a ban on flavored vape products.

The moves come amid reports of dozens of deaths linked to vaping. Last week, the CDC said there were 1479 confirmed or probable cases of vape-related illnesses in the United States.

Palmetto would become the second city in Florida—after Fort Lauderdale—to pass such an ordinance if the city commission votes to do so.

Earlier this year, a proposal to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco and vaping products to 21 died in the Florida House after the Senate signed off on the measure.


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