The Florida House is moving forward to implement a voter-approved ban on electronic smoking devices in workplaces, but the proposal doesn’t include a push by anti-smoking advocates to redefine vaping devices as tobacco products.
A measure (PCB HQS 19-02) passed by the House Health Quality Subcommittee on Wednesday mirrors a longstanding ban on smoking tobacco in indoor workplaces and would add vaping to a state law that bars people from smoking tobacco within 1,000 feet of schools.
“You wouldn’t be able to smoke or vape in an indoor workplace,” said Lithia Republican Rep. Mike Beltran, the sponsor of the proposal. “So, in restaurants, offices, public buildings, places of that nature, you wouldn’t be able to vape there, just as you’re not allowed to smoke.”
But anti-smoking advocates argue the bill doesn’t go far enough. Ashley Lyerly, with the American Lung Association, feels the state should consider vaping devices as tobacco products.
Such a move would help Tobacco Free Florida’s educational efforts to slow the increased usage of e-cigarettes by minors, she said.
“The voters’ intent on Amendment 9 was to modernize the current provisions of Florida’s Clean Indoor Air Act, and to include an extremely prevalent and alarming tobacco product,” Lyerly said.
Nearly 69 percent of Florida voters approved the vaping ban in November. The state Constitution Revision Commission bundled the proposal with a prohibition on drilling for gas and oil in state coastal waters.
Once the vaping ban is enacted by the Legislature, violators would face a civil infraction that carries a $25 fine or 50 hours of community service.