Will Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis veto the vaping ban bill?

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) is having a stressful month as coronavirus cases soar throughout his state, but he may be able to regain favor with a significant portion of his constituents should he decide to veto a vaping ban bill recently passed by the state congress.  As millions of Americans are being furloughed, laid off, or just plain terminated from their jobs due to recent lockdowns, many they are in the midst of a second wave.  Vetoing SB 810 could literally save thousands of jobs across the state with just a mere swipe of the DeSantis pen.

SB 810 is being marketed in the mainstream press as a Tobacco 21 law – meaning that it is legislation that raises the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.  However, buried deep within the legalese is Section 6, Part (5)(a) which outright bans the sales of all flavored vaping products effective January 2021, less than six months away. In a June 29 letter to Gov. DeSantis, The American Vaping Association (AVA)  issued the following request.

“On behalf of the American Vaping Association, a nonprofit organization that advocates for adults who are unwilling or unable to quit smoking to switch to reduced-risk nicotine products, I am writing to urge you to veto SB 810. Due to a late-added amendment, this bill goes far beyond the authors’ original intent of raising the age to purchase tobacco and nicotine products to 21, an action that we would normally support. Regrettably, what started as a simple bill is now a threat to 800,000-plus adult vapers and 5,000-plus direct vapor-related jobs in the State of Florida.”

Related Article:  Did Florida just become first U.S. state to pass a constitutional amendment against vaping?

Somewhat cleverly, AVA also included a reference to President Donald Trump, of whom Mr. DeSantis is an ardent supporter.  Last year, Mr. Trump was also considering a flavor ban at the national level, but he decided against it in the eleventh hour.  In late November during an ABC News Live partial broadcast of a White House meeting with leaders within the vaping, anti-vaping medical, and tobacco industries, Trump said his biggest fear about banning flavored vapes was the likely increase in sales of black market “poison” that was sure to follow.

 “The one thing I see though, you watch prohibition, you look at, with the alcohol, you look at cigarettes, if you don’t give it to them, it’s going to come here illegally. Okay.  They’re going to make it.  But instead of Reynolds or Juul or legitimate companies, good companies, making something that’s safe, they’re going to be selling stuff on the street corner that could be horrible.   That’s the one problem I can’t seem to forget.  I’ve seen it.  You just have to look at the history of it. And now, instead of having a flavor that’s at least safe, they’re going to be having a flavor that’s poison.  That’s a big problem.”

Related Article:  Still unconvinced of vape bans. Trump says Black Market ‘poison’ is chief concern

Fortunately, representatives of the AVA were also in that November 2019 meeting with President Trump.  In a rather obvious effort to further persuade DeSantis to veto, the AVA makes certain that DeSantis is well aware of the AVA’s close relationship with POTUS by referencing their attendance in their recent letter to the Florida governor.

“(The AVA) was fortunate enough to be in the room with President Donald Trump on November 22, 2019, for a stakeholder meeting on vaping regulation. Following that meeting, President Trump and Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar formulated a plan designed to address the vaping products most popular with youth, while still leaving adults with the freedom to access effective and safer alternatives…. The problem is, if you ban the normal stuff in the store, that could push more people into those dangerous things.”

Another vaping advocacy group - Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association (CASAA) is issuing a call-to-action to the entire vaping community nationwide requesting vapers to petition Governor DeSantis and demanding that he veto SB 810.   CASAA has even created an easy-to-use online form on VoterVoice.net where vapers can send the governor their own private messages.  CASAA recommends sharing personal stories of how switching from smoking to vaping has improved both vapers’ life and overall health. As Gov. DeSantis could sign the bill at literally any moment, it’s best to act fast.

Related Article:  CASAA: SCW Tobacco Free Coalition spreading more 'lies about vaping'

(Images courtesy of Shutterstock)

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