The bill which bans public vaping throughout Florida recently made its way across the desk of Gov. DeSantis.
Vaping regulations around the world are constantly shifting based on the currently available evidence. The government must work to agree on the correct path forward with these polarizing devices. Even just within a single country like the US there is a ton of different voices all trying to make their point. Some states have remained relatively hands-off in regards to vaping regulations, while others are going full steam ahead into potentially misguided rules and bans. Florida, for example, is reaching the final step before implementing a restrictive public vaping ban which had some questionable tie-ins.
Reactions to the new vaping ban have been quite varied. Some point to stories about teens ending up smokers because of vaping, while others heed the growing pile of peer-reviewed evidence that says vaping is an effective smoking cessation and harm reduction tool. As the proposal makes its way across the table of Gov. DeSantis, there is very little that can now be done to stop it from becoming law. However, only time will tell what sort of impact this regulatory change will have on other states.
The Final Step
It was around this time last year that the Florida Constitution Revision Commission decided to put a public vaping ban on the ballot for voters to decide. The Commission has the opportunity once every 20 years to vote on any potential changes to the state constitution. The panel voted by a margin of 33-3 to place the future of the vaping ban in the hands of the public. However, things were made quite complicated, as the public vaping ban was tied at the hip to an offshore drilling ban. Meaning voters had to vote to allow both vaping and offshore drilling, or neither. As you can imagine, Floridians weren’t very keen to endanger their beautiful coastal waters, so the ban easily passed on election day.
That brings us to this final step, where the proposed and passed bill makes its way across the desk of new Governor Ron DeSantis. This comes after the House voted unanimously on Bill SB7012, which carries out the voter-approved ban. No one expects it to have any trouble being signed into law, but this does represent the final chance to prevent a misguided regulation. Vapers in the Sunshine State are understandably upset, as their favorite harm reduction and smoking cessation tools are now banned in most places, simply because it was arbitrarily tied to a much more popular offshore drilling ban.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the legislators took much peer-reviewed evidence into account when making these calls. If they had, it certainly wouldn’t have resulted in such a misguided plan. We’ve known since at least 2015 that vaping is about 95% safer than smoking thanks to a report published by Public Health England. This level of harm reduction is something special that needs to be supported. But the incredible value is even more apparent when you learn about the report in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences which concluded the excess lifetime cancer risk of a smoker is about 57,000 times higher than a demographically similar vaper.
Looking past the simple harm reduction, and vaping is still an incredibly valuable tool. Researchers have tested the smoking cessation value of vaping to understand better what sort of role it could play in the continued fight against tobacco. A report published by the University of Louisville concluded not only is vaping and effective smoking cessation tool, but it actually outperforms all other smoking cessation tools, such as nicotine patches and prescription drugs. However, for many, the most vital issue with vaping is the perceived impact it has on the youth. Luckily a study of over 60,000 students concluded only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are vaping more than once or twice.
The fate of vaping in Florida may already be mostly set in stone. But that doesn’t mean it can’t serve as a lesson for the rest of us. If we don’t want legislators to restrict access to our favorite tools for misguided reasons, we must fight back when they’re brought to the table. Smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease around the world. So if we want to end the tobacco epidemic once and for all, we simply must use all the best tools at our disposal, which includes e-cigarettes.
Is it fair what happened to vaping in Florida? What do you think other states could do differently to avoid this problem? How should we work to spread valuable information to those around us? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.