DeSantis signs bill raising smoking, vaping age in Florida to 21

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has signed legislation raising the state’s age to purchase nicotine and tobacco products to 21, lining up with federal law.

DeSantis signed the law, which is slated to go into effect in October, on Friday. The signing comes after Florida state House members passed the legislation by a 103-13 vote last month.

The governor had previously vetoed an earlier version of the bill, because it included a ban on flavored vaping products.

The bill’s supporters argue that the measure shows that Florida is willing to work with regulators to prevent underage use, but health groups argue that the legislation could block local regulations on the sale of tobacco and vaping products.

In December 2019, then-President Donald Trump signed a measure raising the federal sales age for tobacco and nicotine to 21. More than 550 local governments and 33 states currently limit tobacco sales to those 21 and older.

The law signed by DeSantis also preempts local rules, preventing cities, towns and counties from passing anything more strict, which could mean less stringent regulations on marketing and sales of tobacco products.