By Garin Flowers:
May 6, 2013
Wakulla County Commissioners voted unanimously Monday in favor of an ordinance making it harder for kids to purchase flavored tobacco.
It means stores in that area must now put tobacco in places not easily seen by children or teens.
The ordinance passed was a response to one commissioners had to rescind that passed previously.
They feared the previous ordinance, which banned stores from selling tobacco products unless they were a 21-and-up establishment, would cause lawsuits against the county.
This ordinance they said does not put an age limit on stores, but requires them to hide tobacco products from the counter, making it harder for minors to buy the products.
"It'd be nice if we didn't have to pass an ordinance and people would do it on their own. I think this ordinance is designed to really show that the board cares about their youth," said Howard Kessler, a Wakulla County Commissioner.
Commissioners believe that candy flavored tobacco has unfairly targeted children and hope this stops an attraction for the youth to want to have it.
Press Release: Wakulla County BOCC
Crawfordville, Florida – In an effort to discourage the unhealthy practice of smoking tobacco products and to help prevent the use of nicotine by our youth, The Wakulla County Board of County Commissioners adopted an ordinance on May 6, 2013 restricting the placement of tobacco products.
Any establishment that allows persons under the age of 18 will now be required to store all tobacco products behind a counter or in other areas accessible only to the personnel of the tobacco vendor. This restriction excludes specialty tobacco stores and establishments that prohibit persons under 18 years old.
The 2012 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey found that Wakulla County youth ages 11-17 had a higher incidence of utilizing tobacco products than the State average. With this being said, the Board of County Commissioners took action to help promote public health by reducing exposure to the products by minors.
It’s important that the establishments abide by this new tobacco placement restriction to avoid a possible civil infraction by the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office.
For additional information related to this story, please contact Jessica Welch, Director, Communications and Public Services at (850) 926-0919 ext. 706.