The Florida Legislature passed SB 1080, installing new vaping regulations, sending it to the desk of Governor Ron DeSantis. The bill will also raise the smoking and vaping age to 21, falling in line with federal standards.
Bill sponsor, Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-60) said the bill is necessary to encourage Florida’s youth to stop vaping.
However, the bill drew criticism and opposition from notable health groups saying the bill will not keep minors from smoking but will take away power from local officials seeking to enact regulations on the marketing and sale of tobacco and vape products.
“Years of continued inaction by the state to regulate tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, demands strong, local laws that truly protect our children from a lifetime of addiction,” the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network said in a statement this week. “Florida kids deserve effective protections, not to be left even more vulnerable to the industry and its predatory practices. And our localities have the right, freedom and responsibility to protect them, especially when the state won’t.”
Supporters of the legislation say preempting local regulation is necessary for retailers, who have tobacco and vape shops across Florida, to follow a streamlined, statewide standard compared to determining regulations based on local requirement.
The American Heart Association is encouraging DeSantis to veto the legislation.
“Florida high school students are using e-cigarettes, which demonstrates the need for policies to protect youth from tobacco and nicotine,” said Tiffany McCaskill Henderson, Florida Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association. “The addiction to nicotine has a direct correlation to smoking and thus smoking-related illness, including heart disease. This bill would give the tobacco industry free (rein) to market and advertise these harmful products to our youth.”
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