Vaping bill clears house, heads to governor’s desk

Vaping bill clears house, heads to governor’s desk
The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids says youth use of e-cigarettes is at epidemic levels, with at least 3.6 million U.S. teens, or about one in five high school students, vaping. (Source: Cronkite News)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Florida House on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill that would regulate the sale of electronic cigarettes and raise the state’s legal age to use tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21.

House members voted 103-13 to approve the bill (SB 1080), which passed the Senate on Monday. It is now ready to go to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

House sponsor Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, said the bill is aimed at preventing minors from using electronic cigarettes. “This bill is necessary to stop youth vaping,” Toledo said.

But the bill has drawn opposition from some prominent health groups, at least in part because it would prevent local regulations on such things as the marketing and sale of tobacco and vaping 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.”

The bill would raise the state’s legal age to smoke and vape to 21, a threshold already established in federal law. It also would create a state regulatory framework for the sale of electronic cigarettes. Supporters have said “preemption” of local regulations is needed, at least in part, because retailers could have multiple stores in different areas, which would make it hard to follow varying regulations and do business.

Copyright 2021 WWSB. All rights reserved.