Electronic Cigarette: FL HB169 on Vaping
FL Vaping Update…
Electronic cigarettes: time for an accurate and evidence-based debate.
Evidence is urgently needed to inform the debate regarding the impact of electronic cigarettes on public health as national and international legislation moves forward.
Current research and commentaries on electronic cigarettes/electronic nicotine delivery devices (referred to here as e-cigarettes) vary widely in quality, accuracy, and objectivity.
While these issues are not limited to the research community, we believe that researchers need to demonstrate better scholarship in this area. We illustrate our concerns with the three examples below.
Dear Fellow Floridian,
I am writing to you because a new Florida law could directly affect your access to vaping supplies.
There is a bill that is about to be passed in the Florida House of Representatives which could possibly be used to eliminate online sales of nicotine, e-liquids, and e-cigarettes to adults in Florida.
House Bill 169 (HB169) is intended to prevent the sale and possession of electronic cigarettes and e-liquids to minors under the age of 18.
Although **** is a strong supporter of 18+ regulation for the e-cig industry, this bill has language restricting sale and delivery of nicotine products which could be used to eliminate access to online vaping supplies by adults of legal age in Florida.
We are urging every Florida vaper to contact their representative tomorrow, Monday morning, and express your concern that any new regulations do not restrict legal adult access to online alternative nicotine products, which could lead to negative consequences by forcing some adult e-cigarette users back to smoking tobacco cigarettes.
If you do not know which State House Representative you should contact for your district, you can find out by entering your address, and city on the following webpage:
Although most of the bill contains reasonable and common-sense regulations to prevent e-cigarette usage by minors, the following parts of the bill which could directly affect you as an adult vaper of legal age are as follows:
The following language from HB169 Section 11 places new restrictions on how e-cigs and e-liquids can be sold after July 1st, 2014:
(11) RESTRICTIONS ON SALE OR DELIVERY OF NICOTINE PRODUCTS OR NICOTINE DISPENSING DEVICES
(angel) In order to prevent persons under 18 years of age from purchasing or receiving nicotine products or nicotine dispensing devices, the sale or delivery of such products or devices is prohibited, except:
1. When under the direct control, or line of sight where effective control may be reasonably maintained, of the retailer of nicotine products or nicotine dispensing devices or such retailer’s agent or employee;”
What this means in simple terms is that all future sales of electronic cigarettes, e-liquids, and liquid nicotine in Florida must be conducted in face-to-face transactions at retail stores.
This bill currently makes no exceptions for legal online sales to adults.
HB169 defines nicotine products as: “any product that contains nicotine, including liquid nicotine, that is intended for human consumption, whether inhaled, chewed, absorbed, dissolved, or ingested by any means”
HB169 defines nicotine dispensing devices as:
any product that employs an electronic, chemical or mechanical means to produce vapor from a nicotine product, including, but not limited to, an electronic cigarette, electronic cigar, electronic cigarillo, electronic pipe, or other similar device or product, any replacement cartridge for such device, and any other container of nicotine in a solution or other form intended to be used with or within an electronic cigarette, electronic cigar, electronic cigarillo, electronic pipe, or other similar device or product.
Link to the Bill details and history on the Florida House website and Link to a PDF of the full Bill text of HB169.
We believe this is a heavy-handed approach that will unfairly limit access to an effective alternative for many adult smokers and vapers in Florida.
We urge all Floridians affected by this bill to email and phone their House Representative tomorrow morning and ask them to vote NO on HB169 until such time as the language of this bill is amended to include protections for
legal adult access to online alternative nicotine products.
These protections could reasonably include the use of modern online age verification software, adult signature requirements for mailed packages, or another form of ID and age verification for adult consumers, none of which are currently included in this bill.
Again, If you do not know which State House Representative you should contact for your district, you can find out by entering your address, and city on the following webpage:
The Capitol Office phone number for your State House representative is on the first page next to their photo.
To email, your representative, click on the Full Detail button under your State House representative’s photo, and an Email Representative button will be available on the next page.
This bill has already passed with a unanimous vote in the Florida Senate and has been placed on a special order calendar in the Florida House of Representatives for this Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014.
This bill is expected to pass into law unless immediate opposition and action are displayed by Florida vapers.
Your House Representative has until 2 pm tomorrow, Monday, April 21st, to submit any amendments to the bill.
If this bill is allowed to pass into law with the current language, ****, and other online Florida businesses may be forced to stop online sales to Florida customers on July 1st, 2014.
Please take a few moments to send a well thought and respectful email to your representative tonight, and please follow up with a phone call to their Capitol office phone number tomorrow morning.
Together we can help shape responsible and common-sense regulations for our state.
Due to my original email last night, there have been several active discussions started online surrounding the new language in HB169.
I feel it’s my responsibility to share some of those updates. I’ve been in phone conferences late last night and this morning with Kevin Skipper of VISTA (Vaping Industry Strategic Truth Alliance), who has a lobbyist in the state capitol on behalf of the vaping industry.
Greg Conley, a well-respected attorney in the vaping community has also weighed in on the CASAA Facebook page regarding the recent changes to the bill.
Greg expressed his professional opinion that if this issue had been noticed 2 weeks ago, there may have been merit in attempting an amendment to the bill, but at this late date, with the deadline already upon us, a last-minute attempt at changing the law could be more harmful than allowing the bill to pass in its current form.
After carefully weighing all of the available options left to us at this time, VISTA has agreed and decided to hold off on filing official paperwork in Tallahassee this morning.
Instead, they have decided the best course of action will be in focusing their efforts behind the scenes to get assurances from the sponsoring representatives that the intention of this new language is not to enforce an online ban in Florida.
If those assurances cannot be met, Kevin has advised me that they are fully prepared to file the necessary paperwork to challenge, and we have pledged our support.
At this point in time, with the most current information available to me, I am deferring to the expertise of Mr. Conley, CASAA, and VISTA’s assessment.
Their position is that the time for emails and phone calls has passed, and our best chances at this late hour now depend on having the bill sponsor go on the record on the House floor that his intent is not to ban sales online.
Now that VISTA is aware of the situation, they will be actively working toward that goal over the coming days.
I would like to express my gratitude to all of the Florida vaping community who have come together in their passion and awareness over this issue.
This situation highlights the importance for all of us to stay involved and informed of any pending legislation that affects us and our community before it’s too late.
I will be continuing to follow the course of this legislation both on the government website and CASAA’s Facebook page
A Newsletter Reader
Sara C. Hitchman,
Leonie S. Brose
First published: 5 May 2014