TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has vetoed a bill that proposed banning the sale of flavored e-cigarette products and raising the state’s legal age to buy tobacco to 21.
Tobacco-free vaping flavors are used by hundreds of thousands of Floridians as a reduced-risk alternative to cigarettes, DeSantis said in a Sept. 8 letter explaining his decision.
“This legislation would almost assuredly lead more people to resume smoking cigarettes, and it would drive others to the hazardous black market,” DeSantis said. “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.”
Also, raising the legal age to buy tobacco to 21 would be “superfluous” since it is already mandated by federal law, he said.
Florida Senate Bill 810 was originally filed in November 2019, before the federal government raised the minimum legal sales age for all tobacco products to 21. The version vetoed by DeSantis would have banned the sale of flavored vaping products, excluding menthol and tobacco flavors.
“Reducing the use of all nicotine-related products, including vaping, among our youth is an important goal, but this will not be achieved by eliminating legal products for adults and by devastating the small businesses who provide these adults with reduced-risk alternatives to cigarettes,” DeSantis said.
California and Massachusetts legislators have also enacted bans on the sale of flavored tobacco products in their states. The Chicago City Council approved an ordinance on Sept. 9 banning the sale of flavored vaping products.