On March 11th, the Florida House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 810 (SB 810) by a vote of 99-17. Last Thursday, the Florida state Senate passed SB 810 which would recognize e-cigarettes and vaping products as “tobacco products”, as well as raise the legal age to purchase any tobacco products and/or e-cigarettes from 18 to 21. In addition to raising the age to purchase vapor products, there is also a flavor ban included in SB 810 only allowing the sale of menthol and tobacco flavors, making it virtually impossible to keep shops open that count flavors as more than 50% of their sales. The bill passed by a 27-9 vote after some changes were made to the bill. Now it’s up to Governor DeSantis to veto or pass the bill.
Who does this affect?
According to Paul Blair of Americans for Tax Reform, Florida has more than 900,000 vapers. And included in those 900,000 vapers, there are over 5,000 Florida residents depending on those vape shop jobs to help them pay the bills and to keep the lights on for their families. Making all of these vape shops close down would not be ideal if we are including the pandemic and national economic recession we are currently experiencing. Shutting down vape shops would leave many more empty storefronts littered around the state, and thousands of people without income during these trying times.
Adults working in vape shops and those in the vaping community wouldn’t be the only ones to be affected by this. Young adults between the ages 18-20 would also be affected by SB 810 even if they were not vapers. "If Senate bill 810 had actually passed, 18 to 20 year olds would not have been allowed to work in gas stations and sell those nicotine and vaping products at all", Rep. Alex Andrade (R-Pensacola) said. SB 810 would limit job opportunities for young adults in college trying to make ends meet while getting their education to better their future.
“I think there’s been a lot of confusion and knee jerk reactions across the country in response to vapor related illnesses and vaping related deaths," Andrade said. “For context, there were 480,000 tobacco and smoking related deaths in Florida last year. There were 33 vaping related deaths nationwide.”
In April, 2019, Governor DeSalis signed SB 7012 which was supported by more than 68.9% of voters in November, 2018. This bill prohibited people from vaping in the workplace. Other than SB 7012, the Florida Governor doesn't seem too prudent to sign any new bills regarding vaping. “The federal government’s doing stuff but I don’t think we need to do anything beyond what’s been done there,” DeSantis said. “Sometimes I think we may get a little ahead of where the science may be on this. So we’ll see. But I don’t have any plans to ask for any new restrictions on vaping.”
If you are a Florida resident and are opposed to SB 810, make sure to check out CASAA’s call to action here (Click Here) to email Governor DeSantis regarding SB 810. The Florida Smoke Free Association call to action also urges residents to call the governor (850-488-7146), and connect with him on social media. FSFA has good talking points to use when urging DeSantis to veto the flavor ban.
Hatter, L. (2020). Vape Flavor Ban Heads To Governor. Retrieved 17 March 2020, from https://news.wfsu.org/post/vape-flavor-ban-heads-governor
Florida, N. (2020). Florida Legislature passes bill to raise age for smoking, vaping to 21. Retrieved 17 March 2020, from https://www.mysuncoast.com/2020/03/13/florida-legislature-passes-bill-raise-age-smoking-vaping/
Mcdonald, J. (2020). Last Chance in Florida: Tell Gov. DeSantis to Veto the Flavor Ban! - Vaping360. Retrieved 17 March 2020, from https://vaping360.com/vape-news/89279/last-chance-in-florida-tell-gov-desantis-to-veto-the-flavor-ban/