TALLAHASSEE, FL | September 9, 2020
Last night, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed SB810, a bill that aimed to reduce youth tobacco use, including e-cigarettes in the state. The American Lung Association looks forward to working with state lawmakers to develop and pass proven tobacco control legislation that will reduce tobacco use rates among youth in Florida.
The American Lung Association has been raising the alarm about e-cigarettes and their use for more than a decade. The inhalation of harmful chemicals found in e-cigarettes can cause irreversible lung damage and lung disease. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in Florida. All tobacco products can harm health, including e-cigarettes. The only thing safe for lungs is clean, healthy air, and medications, such as those for asthma, that have been found to be safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration. E-cigarettes are not safe.
“The American Lung Association urges Florida legislators to do more to reduce the death and disease caused by tobacco use, including the e-cigarette epidemic. As an organization with decades of experience advocating for public policies proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use, we know that the initiatives in SB810 were not enough to address the rates of youth tobacco use in Florida,” said Ashley Lyerly, the director of advocacy for the Lung Association.
In Florida, 25.6% of high school students used e-cigarettes in 2019, according to Tobacco Free Florida. The Lung Association asks Florida elected officials to follow the best practices for tobacco prevention and control by:
- Providing clear authority and funding to the Comprehensive Statewide Tobacco Education and Use Prevention Program to engage in prevention and education around the use of electronic cigarettes for adults and youth;
- Instituting strong regulation and licensing of all tobacco retailers, including electronic cigarette retailers, with annual compliance and enforcement;
- Ensuring smokefree protections for all workers and residents, including those who work in bar establishments; and
- Increasing Florida’s taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products and establishing a tax on electronic cigarettes.
“We look forward to working with Florida lawmakers to pass proven tobacco control policies to protect Florida’s youth from deadly addiction to tobacco products,” said Lyerly.
The American Lung Association stands ready to help anyone quit tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and encourages parents to speak with their kids about the harms of vaping, before they start. The Lung Association invites parents, teachers, and school administrators to visit TalkAboutVaping.org for resources to end the youth vaping epidemic.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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