A Florida Senate panel took a swipe at wiping out “vaping” by minors, approving a measure that would prohibit the sale of nicotine dispensers to people under age 18.
The Criminal Justice Committee approved the restriction on smokeless cigarettes on a 5-0 vote. The dispensers give users a jolt of nicotine through inhaled vapors — giving the practice its nickname.
“The use of electronic cigarettes is becoming increasingly popular among Florida’s youth, and yet there are still no age restrictions at both the state and federal level on the purchase of these harmful products,” said Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, sponsor of the measure (SB 224).
“By regulating electronic cigarettes like other tobacco products, Florida will be one step closer to preventing a new generation of nicotine addicts,” she added.
The committee’s action was the second Senate panel which unanimously approved the restriction. A similar bill (HB 153) has been filed in the House by Rep. Ronald ‘Doc’ Renuart, R-Ponte Vedra Beach, but hasn’t advanced.
Anti-tobacco advocates are also keeping an eye on other measures aimed at giving local governments authority to ban smoking on playgrounds. It’s a retreat by proponents who last year were turned back in efforts to allow cities and counties to prohibit smoking on public property, including such outdoor locations as beaches, parks, playgrounds and recreational areas.
That legislation advanced in the Senate, but never got a hearing in the House.