Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) signed into law a bill that raises the legal smoking and vaping age in Florida to 21. The law will go into effect in October and had been approved by members of the Florida State House of Representatives with 103 votes in favor and 13 against. The new law would also create a state regulatory framework for the sale of e-cigarettes.
In March 2020, Attorney General Ashley Moody thanked state lawmakers for passing legislation to curb the teen vape epidemic. with the Senate Bill (SB) 810.
“Vaping is taking over our schools and addicting our kids. That is why I took swift action—launching a teen-vaping investigation in Florida.” said the prosecutor at the time.
Increase in smoking and vaping age in Florida
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of October 2019, before the pandemic began, 34 deaths in patients with e-cigarettes or vape-associated lung injuries associated with product use (EVALI) were reported to the CDC.
For her part, the bill’s sponsor in the Florida House of Representatives, Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, said it aims to prevent minors from using e-cigarettes.
“This bill is necessary to stop youth vaping,” Toledo said.
The CDC also explained that since 2014 e-cigarettes have been the most frequently used tobacco product among middle and high school students nationwide. Between 2017 and 2018 alone, the number of youth who used these cigarettes increased by 1.5 million.
“Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, the highly addictive drug in tobacco. Nicotine is especially harmful to young people. The human brain is still developing until around the age of 25. The use of nicotine products under the age of 25 can damage the part of the brain responsible for memory, attention and learning,” they state in a research published on their official website.