Anti-tobacco advocates should not seek to kill House Bill 169 that would enact certain sales restrictions regarding electronic cigarettes on a uniform, statewide basis. Rep. Frank Artiles, the chief sponsor of House Bill 169, has responded to concerns and amended the legislation to clarify that local tobacco laws enacted prior to Dec. 31, 2013 would be grandfathered and not affected.
Going forward, it is especially important to maintain uniform regulations on electronic cigarettes to avoid a situation where there are numerous and different regulations on these products from city to city. Moreover, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced earlier this month that the agency’s proposed regulations on electronic cigarettes would be issued “very soon.” With the FDA intending to regulate electronic cigarettes nationwide, it is premature for cities and counties to begin adopting regulations on these products. Good public policy allows for uniform regulations that all retailers in Florida can abide by.
It is important to get the regulation of electronic cigarettes right and, for that reason, House Bill 169 should be supported by Florida’s lawmakers while we all wait for the FDA’s regulations.
Thomas Briant, executive director, National Association of Tobacco Outlets, Eden Prairie, Minn.