The readers’ forum

Protect our children from e-cigarettes

 

Re Fabiola Santiago’s April 8 column, E-cigarettes bring threat of new addiction for kids: After reading the column, I wanted to clarify a few things.

First, e-cigarettes must be kept out of the hands of our children. The use of e-cigarettes by middle and high school students has more than doubled in the last year, which is completely unacceptable.

Something needs to happen to stop the increase in the use of e-cigarettes by minors.

While it may be news to the special-interest groups currently opposed to my bill, preemption to the state is the current law. As Santiago stated, our local governments are “recognizing the dangers of e-cigarettes.” However, state and federal governments also play a role in governing and a hierarchy of regulations currently exists, with or without the passage of my bill.

To make things clear, I have proposed language that will incorporate the provisions from the strictest local ordinances currently on the books. Nothing in my bill could possibly be interpreted as a betrayal of local governments. It enacts stringent provisions to keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of minors, creates uniformity that currently exists in the statute regulating smoking, grandfathers in current local ordinances and maintains the integrity of the Clean Indoor Air Act.

I would argue that my bill actually advocates for our local governments.

While special-interest groups may be opposed to the Legislature regulating these products, in the absence of regulation by the FDA, Florida has a duty to take action to protect our children. I believe that this affirmative declaration is good public policy that provides consistency statewide. Without it, we could end up with a patchwork of conflicting county and city laws.

Frank Artiles,

Florida House of Representatives,

District 118, Miami

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