At the beginning of last month, it was announced that a recent proposal concerning e-cigs had been turned down. According to Gov. Ron DeSantis, this measure would have driven Floridians “to the hazardous black market”. The proposed measure would have banned the sale of nearly all flavored electronic-cigarette products. It also would have raised the state’s smoking age from 18 to 21.
After a tug-of-war between House and Senate leaders, this measure was approved by lawmakers during the 2020 legislative session (that ended in March). DeSantis explained some of his reasoning behind the veto. According to the governor, raising the age to 21 to purchase tobacco products would have been “superfluous” because it is already mandated in federal law.
He went on to say that many Floridians rely on tobacco-free vaping flavors to break the habit of using the higher risk alternative of cigarettes. DeSantis’ statement that “hundreds of thousands of Floridians” rely on tobacco-free vaping is supported by thousands of proprietors of e-cig shops, many of whom urged the governor to veto the bill.
“This legislation would almost assuredly lead more people to resume smoking cigarettes, and it would drive others to the hazardous black market,” DeSantis wrote in his veto letter. “The latter consequence is especially significant because the much-publicized cases of lung injury associated with vaping in recent years have been traced to illegal, or black market, vape cartridges containing THC, not to the types of legal vaping products that this bill would abolish.”
The reaction to this decision has been very mixed. On one hand, the United States and Florida surgeons have declared vaping an epidemic. Attorney General Ashley Moody, who has worked hard to try and bring Florida into compliance with federal laws aimed at reducing teen vaping, has called this decision disappointing.
As the attorney general and a mother, I will continue to advocate for legislation and in our courts to protect Florida’s children,” she said in a prepared statement.
On the other hand, vape shop owners hailed DeSantis’ veto and declared this decision a massive step in the right direction in the quest to curb the use of tobacco cigarettes. In a recent news release, Florida Smoke Free Association President Robert Lovett, whose organization represents more than 1,000 small vape shops, applauded this move. Likewise, president of the American Vaping Association said the bill would have had a devastating effect.
“When legislators voted for this bill, few had any idea that they were actually voting to shut down small businesses in their districts. This would have been disastrous not only for the 5,000-plus vapor-related jobs in Florida, but for the 800,000-plus adult vapers in Florida as well,” Conley said in a prepared statement.
Thanks to DeSantis’ veto, vape shop owners across the state can breathe a sigh of relief. Amidst what has already been a tough year for businesses of all industries across the nation, this recent decision has brought some positivity and safety to small business owners in the e-cig industry.
Author Bio: Blair Thomas has been a music producer, bouncer, screenwriter and for over a decade has been the proud Co-Founder of eMerchantBroker, the highest rated e-cig merchant account processor in the country. He has climbed in the Himalayas, survived a hurricane, and lived on a gold mine in the Yukon. He currently calls Thailand his home with a lifetime collection of his favorite books.