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Lawmaker Looks To Tie Vaping, Smoking Tobacco

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Wikimedia Commons- Lindsay Fox -
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

State Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Rockledge, wants to define vaping products with tobacco products, a move that would allow electronic cigarettes to be lumped into anti-smoking marketing efforts. 

In a news release Monday, Mayfield said she wants to change the definition of tobacco products in state law to extend to all “recreational” nicotine products, including electronic cigarettes and liquid nicotine.

“Currently, retailers that sell electronic cigarettes and liquid nicotine products do not have to comply with the same restrictions and requirements that tobacco retailers do,” the news release said. “This bill will require the same accountability, allowing law enforcement to verify that the retail businesses are only selling tobacco products to patrons that are 18 years of age and older.”

A measure (SPB 7012) by Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, which would move forward with banning electronic smoking devices in workplaces was unanimously backed by the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee this month.

Simpson’s proposal, which does not include the language sought by Mayfield, would carry out part of Amendment 9, a ballot measure that passed in November and includes a ban on vaping in indoor workplaces.

Simpson has said he wants to keep a “clean” bill as it advances through the Senate and called the argument to add the tobacco definition to vaping “as a little bit of an overreach.” Anti-smoking advocates contend that redefining vaping devices as tobacco products would help Tobacco Free Florida’s educational and marketing efforts.

The Simpson measure mirrors a longstanding ban on smoking tobacco in indoor workplaces and would add vaping to a state law that bars people under age 18 from smoking tobacco within 1,000 feet of schools.