TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A bill moving through the Florida Legislature would raise the minimum age to possess tobacco or vaping products from 18 to 21.

The Florida Senate Health Policy Committee passed the Tobacco 21 Act (SB 1618) Monday. It's the first of three committees the bill must pass to reach the Senate floor.

The bill, by State Sen. David Simmons, R-Longwood, would make it illegal for anyone under 21 to purchase tobacco or vaping products. However, the bill also decriminalizes the penalties for selling or giving tobacco products to someone under 21, to non-criminal fines.

The bill also prevents the sale of tobacco and vaping products in vending machines.

 The bill is part of a larger movement across the nation to bring the age limit for tobacco products in line with the minimum age for alcohol. 

Already 7 states — Maine, Massachusetts, Virginia, Hawaii, California and Oregon — and over 400 cities and counties have passed a Tobacco 21 act. 

In January, Alachua County became the first in Florida to pass a Tobacco 21 ordinance.

A similar bill (HB 1041) with bipartisan support has not yet moved in the Florida House.