Governor DeSantis Signs Bill Raising Smoking, Vaping Age

Jackie Toledo

 

On Friday, Governor DeSantis signed a bill that will establish a regulatory framework for the sale of electronic cigarettes. The bill (SB 1080), which will take effect Oct. 1, will also raise the state’s legal age to vape and smoke tobacco to 21. In 2019, Congress passed legislation raising the federal age limit to 21.

House sponsor Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, said during the debate over the bill that it is aimed at preventing minors from using electronic cigarettes and vaping.

“This bill is necessary to stop youth vaping,” Toledo said. “This legislation is a step in the right direction, demonstrating Florida’s commitment to work with regulators and stakeholders to combat underage use.”

Vapes can be used with nicotine, marijuana, flavoring, and other chemicals.

According to a recent survey funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), one out of four high school seniors reported past-month nicotine use. Also, the study indicates an increase in high school seniors reporting past-month marijuana vaping, from 7.5% in 2018 to 14% in 2019.

“Research has shown that teenagers who smoke marijuana are at much greater risk of becoming addicted to it,” says NIDA Director Nora Volkow, M.D. “And becoming addicted as a teen increases the risk of becoming addicted to other drugs as you get older.” She says there’s evidence that marijuana use may impair memory, attention, and motivation; affect school performance; and lead some teens to drop out.

Studies also show that over 30% of teens who vape are more likely to start smoking cigarettes than teens who don’t vape.

“The vaping studies have worried us enormously,” says Volkow. “While teen smoking rates remain at historically low levels, more teenagers are embracing vaping and are being exposed to drugs that otherwise they may not have taken.”

The bill drew opposition from health related groups due to the fact that the bill will prevent local regulations aimed at the marketing and sale of vaping products and tobacco. These groups, which include the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association, issued a statement seeking a veto of the bill.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network believes the provisions in the bill related to local regulations will allow the tobacco industry to prevent the loss of major profits.

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Steve Stewart is the Managing Editor and a contributor at The Florida Capital Star. Email tips to [email protected]

Photo “Jackie Toledo” by Claytonpclemens CC 4.0.

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