New Florida Law Aims to Vaporize the Use of E-Cigs and Vapes

October 4, 2021 Criminal Defense, News & Announcements

It’s no secret that smoking is bad for your health. When e-cigarettes were introduced several years ago, it seemed like a positive way for smoking addicts to work towards quitting altogether. Then the vapes came along and became wildly popular. The virality of vapes exploded across the United States, especially with adolescents and young adults. It became the ‘cool thing’ to do, and it seems like you can hardly go out without seeing people vaping. This became the source of memes, mocking, and, more importantly, serious health risks. A new Florida law is being passed to raise the age of purchasing e-cigarettes and vapes, in an effort to try to limit and lower these risks in youths.

The past few years have seen a drastic increase in the use of e-cigarettes and vapes, especially with younger generations. Electronic cigarettes—or e-cigs—and vapes are electronic devices that use heat to make an aerosol that is inhaled by the person using it. Toxic substances are contained within the device that can cause cancer or create serious lung disease. There is also an increased risk to develop respiratory disease. A recent study shows the association between the initial use of e-cigarettes as an adolescent creating subsequent cigarette smoking as an adult.

E-cigarettes can have the highly addictive component of nicotine or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Nicotine has been found to be harmful to teens, and negatively affect brain development in children and adolescents. In addition, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that from 2019-2020 there was an outbreak of 2,807 cases of lung injuries, which were associated with e-cigarettes.

What is the New Law?

Florida HB 1080 covers Tobacco and Nicotine Products and is aimed at those under the age of 21 years. The bill is said to revise age limitations relating to mail order, internet, and remote sales of tobacco products. The bill would reinstate that it is unlawful for anyone under 21-years of age to smoke tobacco or vape in, on, or within 1,000 feet of public or private schools from elementary, middle, to secondary during specified hours. HB 1080 would also raise the minimum age for purchasing and possessing e-cigarettes and vapes. There would be a regulation for the marketing, sales, or delivery of tobacco products to the state. Nicotine retailers would have to acquire a permit to sell, and customers would have to provide proof of age for certain purchases.

Back in December of 2019, Trump had signed legislation raising the age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21-years-old. This became known as Tobacco 21 or T21. This has now made it illegal for a retailer to sell tobacco products to anyone under 21-years-old. Here is a list of products covered by T21:

  • Cigarettes
  • Smokeless tobacco
  • Hookah tobacco
  • Cigars
  • Pipe tobacco
  • Electronic nicotine (E-cigarettes and E-liquids)

Florida would be complying with the federal regulations of the 2019 bill and would become eligible for additional health care funding from the federal government. The bill splits up nicotine and tobacco, making different rules for each variant. This is believed to have been done to appease the vaping companies. One exemption from the bill would be military members, who would not be included in the 21-year-old age restriction.

What are the Responses?

While many people see the bill as a positive way to limit smoking in youths, others can see a challenge with enforcement. Preventing Tobacco Addiction director Shannon Quinby said, “For [the law] to work to reduce youth use, it must include strong enforcement aimed squarely at the retailers who sell it to kids. Currently Florida doesn’t do a good enough job enforcing its age of sale laws at the state level and these bills don’t correct existing weaknesses in code.”

A similar bill passed the Legislature in 2020 but was then vetoed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, despite receiving support from Attorney General Ashley Moody, the American Cancer Society, and the American Lung Association. It seems as if the bill was tailored in a way of the governor’s liking, as it has unanimously passed the Committee on Health Policy.

Vaping Statistics in Florida

Statistics of e-cigarette use in Florida show a percentage of adults who reported using e-cigarettes or other forms of vaping products. The people who said to have used the products at least once in their lifetime now use some days or even daily. The largest age group using e-cigarettes are between ages 18-44, which makes up 11.3% of Florida’s population.

By eliminating the use of cigarettes and cigarettes, the United States could help prevent millions of tobacco-related deaths. Although the introduction of electronic cigarettes was meant to create progress towards eliminating cigarette use, studies show that it has also become a risk to those who use it. Especially when the main age group vaping are adolescents and young adults.

Hopefully, the passing of HB 1080 will be beneficial to the youth and will help work towards a future for the state with fewer issues of underage vaping and lung disease

This article was written by Gabi D’Espostio

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