Impact of vaping law unclear

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Florida lawmakers earlier this year banned vaping and the use of electronic cigarettes in enclosed indoor workplaces.

In the 2018 election more than 70 percent of Florida’s voters supported the ban. The legislation, Senate Bill 7012, is an extension of the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act of 1985. This bill also allows local governments to put more restrictions on vaping and implement the so-called Florida health initiative.

Th purpose of the bill is to protect people from the health hazards of second-hand tobacco and vaping smoke. The bill is not intended to disrupt medical or scientific research, smoking or vaping cessation programs approved by the state Department of Health.

An enclosed indoor workplace means any place where one or more people are engaged in work, and a place that is bounded mostly by physical barriers.

According to the state Senate website, “Exceptions to the prohibition against vaping and smoking in an enclosed indoor workplace; requiring the proprietor or other person in charge of an enclosed indoor workplace to develop and implement a policy regarding specified smoking and vaping prohibitions.”

Using vape in enclosed indoor workplaces with no smoking policies is a non-criminal offense, but a civil penalty will be issued if caught, according to the legislation.

“The person would get up to a $100 fine for the first offense and up to a $500 fine for sub sequential offenses after that,” says Tallahassee Police Department spokesman Damon Miller.

Places like restaurants, inside certain hotel rooms, and now stores like Walmart have no vaping or smoking rules. Workplaces that still allow you to use vapes are your local smoke and vape shops, bars and cigar lounges.

A man who identified himself as Bashar owns A-1 smoke shop. “Since they have passed this law I have not noticed a decrease in sales on different vapes inside my store,” he said. “I do agree with the new bill that you shouldn’t be able to smoke vape inside certain places, same as tobacco.”

This bill adopted the same regulations as tobacco smoking, so that local governments could have authority under Amendment 9, to be able to put more restrictions on local ordinances on the use of vapor and electronic cigarettes.

Some people insist that vaping helps them stay away from cigarettes.

This law was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and went into effect on July. 1, 2019.