Alachua County Adopts Tobacco 21 Policy

On January 22, the Alachua Board of County Commissioners passed an ordinance to make Alachua the first county in Florida to raise the minimum legal sale age for tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21 years.

hero_image_alt_text===Tobacco Free Alachua logo
thumbnail_alt_text===Tobacco Free Alachua logo

The new ordinance also will close the e-cigarette loophole that currently allows anyone to sell these products without oversight or accountability, as well as create a 1000-foot buffer around K-12 schools where tobacco will not be able to be sold.

All municipalities residing in the county will be included in the ordinance, unless they vote to opt-out within the next nine months. There was a lot of debate on this issue; some wanted to see an opt-in, but the city attorney and some of the members of the commission wanted to have the stronger opt-out language and that is what was passed. Read more about the ordinance at

As a proud member of the Alachua Tobacco Free Kids coalition, the American Heart Association applauds the Alachua County Board of Commissioners for their leadership to reduce youth smoking. Tobacco use continues to be a significant public health concern and a leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Evidence shows that nicotine dependence and smoking intensity are strongly correlated with younger ages of smoking initiation.[1] In other words, the younger people are when they smoke their first cigarette, the more likely they will be a smoker for life. Furthermore, some research suggests that adolescent smokers may experience more difficulty in quitting compared with adult smokers.[2]

Thank you to all You're the Cure advocates who urged the County Board of Commissioners to support the policy change!

Tobacco Free Alachua coalition membersPhoto provided by Victoria Gibney, Chair of Tobacco Free Alachua.

[1] Buchmann, AF., Biomeyer D., Jennen-Steinmetz, C., Schmidt, MH., Esser, G., Banaschewski, T., Laucht, M. Early smoking onset may promise initial pleasurable sensations
and later addiction. Addict Biol. 2013. 18:947-54.

[2] Curry, SJ., Mermelstein, RJ, Sporer, AK. Therapy for specific problems: youth tobacco cessation. Annual Rev Psychol. 2009; 60:229-55.

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