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casaa cta flavor ban

Florida – Fight a Flavor Ban – SB 810

current status

Bill
Introduced

Passed
Senate

Passed
House

Signed by
Governor

08/04/20
SB 810 is officially sitting on the desk of Governor DeSantis and a decision on whether to veto, line-item veto, or enact the law will be decided soon.

Please take a moment to contact the Governor today and urge him to VETO SB 810!

06/25/20
With states’ economies coming back to life, so are state governments. The likelihood of Governor DeSantis making a decision about SB 810 (Flavor Ban) is increasing by the day.

We need everyone in Florida to make contact with the governor by email, phone, and tweet, urging him to VETO SB 810.

03/16/20
After passing both houses of the Florida Legislature, SB 810 (Flavor Ban) is now in the hands of Governor DeSantis waiting for his signature.

We need everyone in Florida to make contact with the governor by email, phone, and tweet, urging him to VETO SB 810.

03/12/20
On Wednesday, March 11, the Florida House of Representatives voted to pass SB 810 (Flavor Ban) with an amendment. While the amendment goes some distance to addressing concerns about licensing of vapor businesses in Florida, the unchanged portion of the bill will ultimately shut those businesses down by banning sales of 80%-90% of vapor products.

Next Steps:

  • SB 810 is being transmitted back to the Senate for concurrence (the Senate has to agree with the House amendment) and is expected to pass without any changes.
  • After passing the Senate, SB 810 will head to Governor DeSantis for his signature.
  • Be prepared to respond to calls for emails and phone calls to the governor’s office (HOLD YOUR CALLS FOR NOW).

03/10/20
SB 810 (Flavor Ban) is moving to a vote by the full House of Representatives, tomorrow, Wednesday, March 11.

An effort to amend the bill has failed and SB 810 remains a total flavor ban. There are no exemptions for certain devices or retail environments.

Please take action TONIGHT by sending emails and calling your officials.

03/05/20
SB 810 has been amended into a ban on sales of vapor products in flavors other than tobacco. There is a specific exemption, however, for products that can make it all the way through the PMTA process in order to receive a marketing order from the FDA. As written, this bill is extremely more restrictive than federal guidance and rules as it would not allow for products to remain on the market at FDA’s discretion.

SB 810 (and SB 1394, which has been amended into a definition change for tobacco products) are moving forward and may be scheduled for a vote by the full Senate.

Prior to any scheduled vote, take a moment to make contact with your officials urging them to oppose these bills.

02/18/20
SB 1394, which would subject vapor products to an 85% wholesale tax and SB 810 (online sales ban) are scheduled for a hearing on

Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 9:00 AM in the S. Committee on Appropriations, Knott Building, Room 412
601 – 631 S. Duval St., Tallahassee, FL

Please make plans to attend this hearing. Even if you do not plan to speak, your presence is important as it demonstrates the large numbers of people affected by this legislation.

Prior to the meeting, please take a moment to make contact with your officials urging them to reject SB 1394 and SB 810.

01/30/20
Two Bills, SB 810 (online sales ban) and SB 1394 (85% wholesale tax), are scheduled for a committee meeting on

Monday, February 3, 2020
1:30 PM in the Committee on Innovation, Industry, and Technology, Tori Jennings Committee Room, Rm 110, Senate Building Building, Tallahassee, FL

Please take a moment to send a message to committee members. Below, CASAA is providing contact information, talking points, and a prewritten comment that you can customize and paste into your email.

Note: Florida’s 2020 Legislative Session is scheduled to end on March 13, 2020.

SB 810 bill sponsors are taking the opportunity to update the state’s minimum tobacco sales age to 21, which is now federal law, to implement a ban on online sales. While some might believe that this will be an advantage for specialty retailers, the reality is that banning online sales only hurts people who don’t have access to a vape shop. Moreover, online age verification platforms are available that are arguably more thorough and reliable than ID checks at a physical point of sale.

 PhoneEmailTwitter
Wilton Simpson (R)
Chair
(850) 487-5010simpson.wilton.web@flsenate.gov@WiltonSimpson
Lizbeth Benacquisto (R)
Vice Chair
(850) 487-5027benacquisto.lizbeth.web@flsenate.gov@lizbethkb
Rob Bradley (R)(850) 487-5005bradley.rob.web@flsenate.gov@Rob_Bradley
Jeff Brandes (R)(850) 487-5024brandes.jeff.web@flsenate.gov@JeffreyBrandes
Travis Hutson (R)(850) 487-5007hutson.travis.web@flsenate.gov@TravisJHutson
Kathleen Passidomo (R)(850) 487-5028Passidomo.Kathleen.web@flsenate.gov@Kathleen4SWFL
Randolph Bracy (D)(850) 487-5011bracy.randolph.web@flsenate.gov@rbracy30
Oscar Braynon (D)(850) 487-5035braynon.oscar.web@flsenate.gov@oscarjb2
Gary Farmer (D)(850) 487-5034farmer.gary.web@flsenate.gov@FarmerForFLSen
Audrey Gibson (D)(850) 487-5006gibson.audrey.web@flsenate.gov@SenAudrey2eet

Suggested Talking points to include in your messages, calls, and spoken comments:
(Online sales ban)

  • Share your story with officials about switching to vapor products instead of continuing to smoke. (Be sure to mention any health changes you’ve experienced.)
  • Online sales bans deny access to safer alternatives to people who can’t travel to a vape shop. At the same time, this ban would protect sales of combustible cigarettes which are sold in almost every convenience store and gas station in Florida.
  • Third-party age verification platforms are already required by several states for online sales and are arguably more reliable than face-to-face ID checks.
  • Banning online sales ignores the primary sources of nicotine products for young people. Namely social sources like friends and family and social media platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.

(Vapor Taxes)

  • Share your experience with switching to vapor products. If affordability compared to continuing to smoke was a motivating factor for trying vaping or other smoke-free products, be sure to include that in your comments. Conversely, if the already high initial cost of these products delayed your initial purchase, highlight this instead. Be sure to include any changes in your health that you’ve experienced as a result of switching to safer nicotine or tobacco products.
  • Taxes on traditional cigarettes are intended to discourage use. But, e-cigarettes and other smoke-free tobacco products are estimated to be 98 – 99% less harmful than smoking, discouraging use is counter to the goals of reducing smoking rates.
  • Other governments are taking exactly the opposite approach. Public Health England (the government public health agency) recently explicitly endorsed a policy of encouraging people who smoke to switch to e-cigarettes and vapor products (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/e-cigarettes-an-evidence-update).
  • Sin taxes are regressive. People who smoke and those who switch to vaping and other smoke-free alternatives are disproportionately poor and low income people. Sin taxes place unnecessary burdens on an already financially challenged group. To make matters worse, people in the low-income bracket are less likely to be insured and lack access to health care providers. The affordable resources available to these people have low success rates.
  • Imposing a tax on these products will drive consumers to shop in neighboring states that do not have a similar tax. At the same time, consumers will be encouraged to shop online for better deals, sending even more money out of the community. Local businesses will not be able to compete, be forced to close their doors, and jobs will be lost. This is bad for the city/state and will result in less revenue, not more.
  • It is important to note that vapor products are already subject to a general sales tax.
  • Taxing smoke-free tobacco and nicotine products in a manner similar to how combustible tobacco products are taxed sends a confusing and inaccurate message to would-be adopters that these two very different products present similar risks. The result of this message is that more people, those that otherwise would have switched to a smoke-free product, will be encouraged to continue smoking.

Prewritten Message to Copy and Paste in to Emails and Contact Forms

I am writing as a voter and taxpayer in Florida urging you to oppose SB 810 and SB 1394, which would ban direct-to-consumer online sales and impose an outrageous 85% wholesale tax on vapor products (e-cigarettes). While I agree that more can be done to discourage young people from buying nicotine products, this legislation goes way beyond what is necessary to enforce Florida’s existing ban on the sale of vapor products to minors. Instead of preventing youth access, this law will deny law-abiding people who smoke access to safer alternatives to combustible tobacco.

Since August of 2016, The Food & Drug Administration has been vigorously enforcing federal regulation which prohibits sales to minors–both in-store and online. The vast majority of online sellers now use a service that checks the age and identity of the purchaser against a third-party government database. Several states such as Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio require online retailers to use an independent, third-party age verification service that compares information available from public records to the personal information entered by the person during the ordering process that establishes the person is of legal purchase age or older. This requirement is effective in preventing youth access while still allowing adults to legally purchase these life-saving products at their convenience.

While Florida is growing rapidly, there is still much of the state that is off the beaten path. As such, many people who smoke who would benefit from switching to smoke free products do not live near a specialty vapor shop. For those who are unable to travel to the nearest city to buy vapor products, online sales are their most reasonable option. Meanwhile, nearly every convenience store and gas station in the state features combustible tobacco products prominently behind the cash register. In an era where harm reduction strategies are being implemented for other issues, it doesn’t make sense that Florida would make it more difficult for people to access safer alternatives to cigarettes.

Please oppose SB 810 and SB 1394.

I along with my fellow members of The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) thank you for considering my comments on this issue. I look forward to your continued support in protecting my access to vapor products and would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

01/20/20
A bill (SB 810) that would ban direct-to-consumer online sales is scheduled for the first of several committee meetings on Tuesday, January 21, 2020
10:00 AM in the Committee on Health Policy, Pat Thomas Committee Room, Rm 412, Knott Building
601-631 Duval St, Tallahassee, FL

Please take a moment to send a message to committee members. Below, CASAA is providing contact information, talking points, and a prewritten comment that you can customize and paste into your email.

Note: Florida’s 2020 Legislative Session is scheduled to end on March 13, 2020.

SB 810 bill sponsors are taking the opportunity to update the state’s minimum tobacco sales age to 21, which is now federal law, to implement a ban on online sales. While some might believe that this will be an advantage for specialty retailers, the reality is that banning online sales only hurts people who don’t have access to a vape shop. Moreover, online age verification platforms are available that are arguably more thorough and reliable than ID checks at a physical point of sale.

Gayle Harrell (R)
Chair
(850) 487-5025harrell.gayle.web@flsenate.gov@Gayle_Harrell
Dennis Baxley (R)(850) 487-5012baxley.dennis.web@flsenate.gov@dennisbaxley
Aaron Bean (R)(850) 487-5004bean.aaron.web@flsenate.gov@AaronPBean
Manny Diaz (R)(850) 487-5036diaz.manny.web@flsenate.gov@SenMannyDiazJr
Ed Hooper (R)(850) 487-5016hooper.ed.web@flsenate.govFacebook
Debbie Mayfield (R)(850) 487-5017mayfield.debbie.web@flsenate.gov@debbie_mayfield
Lori Berman (D)
Vice Chair
(850) 487-5031berman.lori.web@flsenate.gov@loriberman
Lauren Book (D)(850) 487-5032book.lauren.web@flsenate.gov@Book4Senate
Janet Cruz (D)(850) 487-5018cruz.janet.web@flsenate.gov@SenJanetCruz
Darryl Rouson (D)(850) 487-5019Rouson.Darryl.web@flsenate.gov@darrylrouson

Suggested Talking points to include in your messages, calls, and spoken comments:

  • Share your story with officials about switching to vapor products instead of continuing to smoke. (Be sure to mention any health changes you’ve experienced.)
  • Online sales bans deny access to safer alternatives to people who can’t travel to a vape shop. At the same time, this ban would protect sales of combustible cigarettes which are sold in almost every convenience store and gas station in Florida.
  • Third-party age verification platforms are already required by several states for online sales and are arguably more reliable than face-to-face ID checks.
  • Banning online sales ignores the primary sources of nicotine products for young people. Namely social sources like friends and family and social media platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.

Prewritten Message to Copy and Paste in to Emails and Contact Forms

I am writing as a voter and taxpayer in Florida urging you to oppose SB 810, which would ban direct-to-consumer online sales of vapor products. While I agree that more can be done to discourage young people from buying nicotine products, SB 810 goes way beyond what is necessary to enforce Florida’s existing ban on the sale of vapor products to minors. Instead of preventing youth access, this law will deny law-abiding people who smoke access to safer alternatives to combustible tobacco.

Since August of 2016, The Food & Drug Administration has been vigorously enforcing federal regulation which prohibits sales to minors–both in-store and online. The vast majority of online sellers now use a service that checks the age and identity of the purchaser against a third-party government database. Several states such as Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio require online retailers to use an independent, third-party age verification service that compares information available from public records to the personal information entered by the person during the ordering process that establishes the person is of legal purchase age or older. This requirement is effective in preventing youth access while still allowing adults to legally purchase these life-saving products at their convenience.

While Florida is growing rapidly, there is still much of the state that is off the beaten path. As such, many people who smoke who would benefit from switching to smoke free products do not live near a specialty vapor shop. For those who are unable to travel to the nearest city to buy vapor products, online sales are their most reasonable option. Meanwhile, nearly every convenience store and gas station in the state features combustible tobacco products prominently behind the cash register. In an era where harm reduction strategies are being implemented for other issues, it doesn’t make sense that Florida would make it more difficult for people to access safer alternatives to cigarettes.

Please oppose SB 810.

I along with my fellow members of The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) thank you for considering my comments on this issue. I look forward to your continued support in protecting my access to vapor products and would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

On Tuesday evening, Sept. 8, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis made the bold, but logical decision to Veto SB 810!

You can read the governor’s full veto message here.

Among states where flavor bans have been enacted (RI, NY, MA, and NJ), Governor DeSantis is the first to stand up to a flavor ban bill passed by the legislature. Florida’s governor is also the first to publicly acknowledge compelling data showing that passing such a bill would “almost assuredly lead more people to resume smoking cigarettes, and it would drive others to the hazardous black market.”

Why does standing up to flavor bans matter in a post-PMTA world?
For those new to vaping or just generally unfamiliar with federal tobacco regulations, the premarket tobacco application (or PMTA) deadline is today, September 9, 2020. This application is required to keep or bring new tobacco/nicotine products on the market. It is estimated that 95% to 98% of vapor manufacturers will not be able to afford this process and are not capable of filing on time.

But 98% is not 100% (as the antis are fond of saying), so there will still be a handful of flavored vapor products allowed for sale.

The FDA has already approved some new tobacco products that are being sold in flavors other than tobacco (specifically mint, menthol, and wintergreen). In the weeks prior to today’s deadline, the FDA is also accepting for review several applications for bottled e-liquid in flavors ranging from tobacco to cereal to fruit. Despite the rhetoric from certain members of congress and the incessant pro-drug war drum beat of tobacco prohibitionists, FDA is still capable of approving flavored smoke-free nicotine products for market. Moreover, FDA may even allow manufactures of these products to market them as safer than cigarettes, if they apply for and receive a modified risk order.

By vetoing SB 810, Governor DeSantis is supporting decisions by FDA to allow low-risk flavored nicotine products on the market after concluding that these products meet the “appropriate for the protection of public health” standard.

SB 810 and all of the other flavor ban legislation that CASAA is tracking are harbingers of things to come in 2021. While the PMTA approval process is daunting, and most manufacturers can not afford the cost of submitting on time (or at all), we anticipate that FDA may approve the sale of some flavored vapor products. Without action from congress (amending the Tobacco Control Act to ban flavors in smoke-free products), cities and states remain the battleground for flavor bans.

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