Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is being asked to veto existing Tobacco 21 legislation.
TALLAHASSEE — The Florida House of Representatives filed legislation for final approval to transfer a controversial Tobacco 21 proposal to the desk of Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Members of the House voted overwhelmingly 103 to 13 to approve the legislation, which also passed through the Senate days earlier. Now, the state waits for DeSantis to sign or veto the legislation.
Tobacco control groups, however, are asking Gov. DeSantis to veto the legislation in question because they claim that it doesn’t go far enough in restricting youth access to electronic cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Rep. Jackie Toledo, a Republican from Tampa, sponsored the legislation claiming that it is “this bill is necessary to stop youth vaping.”
Unfortunately, groups like the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network claim that the legislation is gutting existing tobacco control measures and the power of local governments to regulate these products.
“Years of continued inaction by the state to regulate tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, demands strong, local laws that truly protect our children from a lifetime of addiction,” the action network said in a statement.
“Florida kids deserve effective protections, not to be left even more vulnerable to the industry and its predatory practices. And our localities have the right, freedom and responsibility to protect them, especially when the state won’t.”
The bill would raise the state’s minimum legal sales to use tobacco and nicotine products to 21 years.
That’s a threshold established in federal law set in place by the former administration of President Donald Trump.
Supporters of the bill argue that preemption of local regulations is needed because the measures covering these protections in the bill are created to protect the independent vape businesses and retailers.
Gov. DeSantis is expected to take action on the measure in the coming days, potentially the coming weeks.