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Lori Berman: Smoking age bill to be Don Hahnfeldt’s legacy

Rep. Lori Berman, a Lantana Democrat, intends to move forward with a bill seeking to raise the legal age for smoking in honor of the measure’s co-sponsor, Rep. Don Hahnfeldt, a Republican from The Villages who died of cancer on Sunday.

“I was saddened to learn of Rep. Don Hahnfeldt’s passing,” Berman tweeted on Tuesday. “I was honored to have worked with him on raising the tobacco purchase age to 21 and will pursue this important issue in his legacy.”

Last week, Hahnfeldt and Berman filed a proposal (HB 1029) that would raise the legal age for smoking from 18 to 21. In a press release issued with Berman, and Senate sponsor David Simmons, an Altamonte Springs Republican, Hahnfeldt said raising the legal age “will save a projected early loss of life of 270,000 young lives and $8.6 billion in health care costs, as well as $8.3 billion in productivity losses.”

Hahnfeldt, 73, was a first-term member of the House whose district includes Sumter and parts of Lake and Marion counties. He spent 32 years in the Navy, commanding two nuclear submarines and later serving as commander of the Pacific Fleet’s Strategic Submarine Squadron.

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