Florida Governor DeSantis Vetoes Tobacco 21 Bill

Statement from Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation President Rob Crane, MD 

Governor DeSantis’ veto of the Tobacco 21 and Vaping Flavors bill reflects a disheartening refusal to acknowledge the magnitude of the teen vaping epidemic that threatens to addict hundreds of thousands of Florida kids. Unfortunately, the Governor has listened to vape dealers rather than worried Florida parents. The flawed rationale Governor DeSantis gave for his veto is evidence he is choosing to ignore the science on e-cigarettes. Although SB 810 fell far short of being a model Tobacco 21 bill, it would have brought thousands of vape shops and other sellers of e-cigarette products into the current statewide tobacco retail licensing program and required age verification protocols that don’t exist in Florida.

In accordance with the bipartisan federal law signed by President Trump last December, states continue to pass Tobacco 21 legislation: a total of 33 states, including 14 in 2020, have raised the legal sales age to 21 to ensure the federal age will be uniformly enforced. With this veto, Florida faces a potential loss of federal dollars if the state does not meet a specific threshold of retailer violations.

We thank the bill sponsors and Attorney General Ashley Moody for their continued commitment to the protections the Governor failed to put in place, and we can only hope next year’s legislature will take a firmer stand in favor of Florida kids.

September 10, 2020