PALMETTO, Fla. (WWSB)- The City of Palmetto is working to up the legal buying age of all tobacco-related products, including vaping products from 18 to 21.
Officials with city, concerned over the nationwide epidemic of illnesses and deaths related to vaping, are on board with the idea of increasing the age limit to purchase the products, a change that could take as little as six months to be in place.
Drug-Free Manatee is in on the possible change. People with organization say this is so important because more than 26 percent of high school students in Manatee County admit to vaping regularly.
People with Drug-Free Manatee also say the use of tobacco products by those students has a significant impact on their brain development.
“Vaping by students in Manatee County alone has risen over 61 percent. That number is incredible and in fact students in Manatee County vape more often they they drink alcohol, which for the first time alcohol is not the number one drug for students anymore. It was brought to our attention about four years ago by the students themselves," says Drug-Free Manatee’s Associate Director, Ally Bergmann.
“I think more municipalities that do this in the State of Florida and band together and say we’re going to do this for our children and for our youth then Florida will be like whoa this is something that needs to happen across the state and they’ll take a stand, that’s my hope," says Assistant City Clerk Amber LaRowe.
The next step would be for the ordinance to be drafted and voted on, which could take about six months. If approved the city would be joining 18 other states and over 500 cities and municipalities across the county in raising the age limit to buy tobacco-related products.
There are about 10 businesses in Palmetto that would have to make changes on who they sell to.