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Governor’s Vape Veto Met With Minimal Disappointment

September 9th, 2020 by Jake Stofan

Governor Ron DeSantis has vetoed legislation that would have added new regulations and protections to curb the youth vaping epidemic.

The veto comes as a welcome surprise to the vape industry and has been met with lukewarm disappointment from health organizations.

The legislation would have banned flavored vape products, raised the age to purchase tobacco and nicotine products to 21 and created some regulations around the sale of vape products through the mail.

The American Cancer Society had taken a neutral position on the bill, arguing it didn’t go far enough to curb the youth vaping epidemic.

American Cancer Society Vice President of Regional Advocacy Paul Hull said three out of ten youth in Florida now admit to vaping.

“At the end of the day, this particular bill, we do agree with the Governor that it wouldn’t have done much,” said Hull.

While the bill raised the age to purchase tobacco and vape products to 21, the federal government already raised the age nationally back in December.

The American Cancer Society did note, by including the change in Florida law it could have helped with enforcement.

In his veto letter, the Governor made note most of the vaping related health issues that made national headlines earlier this year were the result of black market THC vape products.

He feared banning flavors would have pushed more youth onto the black market.

“So it would have effectively just shut down local brick and mortar retailers,” said Jonathan Risteen, owner of Gentleman’s Draw Vape Shop in Edgewood Florida.

Risteen, who spoke against the legislation during the 2020 session, was pleasantly surprised by the veto.

“We are willing to do a lot of things, but one of those things that we’re not willing to do is take adults’ rights away,” said Risteen.

Ironically, both the vape industry and health groups agree the bill missed the ball, by not raising penalties for retailers who sell to underaged youth.

“And you know we’ll just go back to the drawing board next year,” said Hull.

Attorney General Ashley Moody was a staunch advocate for the banning of flavored vape products.

In an statement she told us she was disappointed by the Governor’s veto.

“The United States and Florida Surgeons General have declared vaping to be an epidemic. As the Attorney General and a mother, I will continue to advocate for legislation and in our courts to protect Florida’s children,” said Moody.

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