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Starting Friday you must be 21 to buy and smoke tobacco, nicotine products

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Posted at 7:01 AM, Oct 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-01 15:52:47-04

TAMPA, Fla. — In an effort to reduce vaping among teens, Florida lawmakers passed a bill that raises the state’s legal age to vape or smoke tobacco from 18 to 21.

The law went into effect at 12:01 a.m. meaning it’s now illegal in Florida for anyone under 21 to buy, possess, or smoke tobacco and nicotine products, including e-cigarettes.

The law also bans anyone under 21 from smoking or vaping within 1,000 feet of a school.

Since 2014, e-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among U.S. youths.

A new national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, shows millions of teens say they use e-cigarettes. The study found more than 2 million middle and high school students vaped, with a quarter of them vaping daily.

The CDC and the FDA are calling this a serious public health threat.

While numbers were even higher in past years, the agencies say you can’t compare that data to this year's numbers because of the pandemic. Since kids were at home, they had limited access to vaping products.

“They are severely addicted and, as we see nicotine levels in vaping products go unchecked, that is of great concern to it puts them at risk for a lifetime of addiction. Not only for the physical impacts of that but also as we're in a mental health crisis that young people are very concerned about,” said Robin Koval, CEO and President of Truth Initiative.

The survey finds teens say they’re mostly smoking sweet and candy-like flavors.

Earlier this month the FDA delayed its decision on whether to ban the most popular e-cigarette products.