News and Events

Are Local Tobacco Retail Licenses Right for Gilchrist County?
March 10, 2021

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Gilchrist County has currently met and agreed the importance and need for a local tobacco retail licensing program. As of December 2019, Congress included legislation to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and raise the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. It is now illegal nationally to sell any tobacco product to anyone under the age of 21. Though this may be federal law the Florida Statutes still list the age of tobacco sales and purchases as 18.

So, what does this mean for the state and us locally? Due to the federal and state laws not being aligned, only federal agencies are allowed to enforce the new 21 policy and not our local or state agencies such as the sheriff’s offices or ABT. To fix this misalignment between state and federal law the Florida House and Senate, with support from the Florida Attorney General, passed SB 810 to fix this problem. Though it looked like the bill was going to pass with no problem, Governor Desantis vetoed the bill in September 2020.

With the absence of state leadership in Florida, it falls on us and local community municipalities to get creative and make new enforceable rules to help reduce the youth’s access to tobacco products. A Tobacco Retail License (TRL) Policy can give our community the ability to dictate the most appropriate ways to govern tobacco sales and perform annual checks of our retailers. A TRL policy in Gilchrist County would also hold the tobacco vendors more accountable for any offenses against the law, instead of the focus of the punishment being on the consumer. A TRL policy can also cover things such as reducing point-of-sale advertising, restricting flavored tobacco, and even reducing the location and density of tobacco retailers.

As a community advocate teaming up with other fellow tobacco-free partners, we are optimistic a TRL policy within Gilchrist County will be well accepted by the community’s leaders and decision makers. If you believe this is a good cause to get behind or think you may have any resources to help get this project up and running, please feel free to join our Tobacco Free Partnership or send me an email anytime to get more information at