Gov. DeSantis Vetoes Flavor Ban SB 810!
Sep 09 2020, Vapor Technology Association
VAPOR TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION APPLAUDS GOVERNOR DESANTIS FOR DECISION TO VETO ADULT FLAVOR BAN BILL
Governor DeSantis is the First Governor to Veto A Flavor Ban
Washington, D.C. – September 9, 2020 – The Vapor Technology Association (VTA) applauds Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) for his decision to veto SB 810, a flavor ban. SB 810 was passed by the legislature in March of this year under the mistaken belief that it would raise the age to purchase vapor products to 21. But, due to federal legislation passed in December 2019, the legal age to purchase vapor products was already 21 in Florida making that portion of the bill “superfluous” in the Governor’s words.
“Governor DeSantis has shown true leadership and understanding in his decision to veto SB 810,” said Tony Abboud, Executive Director of the Vapor Technology Association. “On behalf of all the vapor companies, large and small, and the more than one million vapers in the state of Florida, VTA thanks Governor DeSantis for his bold decision to protect Florida’s public health and economy, which comes at a time of great uncertainty for many. This is the positive reinforcement the industry and the people of Florida need.”
The Vapor Technology Association worked closely with the Florida Smoke Free Association, a VTA member association, to educate legislators throughout the legislative session and had moved a meaningful regulatory bill that would have provided real solutions to the core issue of youth access and/or appeal. However, that effort was tossed in favor of an unnecessary and last minute flavor ban, disguised as a bill that would merely raise the age to 21.
Immediately after the bill’s passage in March, VTA went to work on a multi-media veto campaign strategy that involved:
- the VapersSayVeto call to action site,
- the industry’s only television advertisement directed at the Governor,
- a social media drumbeat, and
- professional economic analysis from VTA economist John Dunham & Associates
The statewide campaign educating the Governor and his advisors on the negative public health and economic impacts of SB 810 was deployed in cooperation with the Florida Smoke Free Association, which also delivered sophisticated and passionate messages of their own to the Governor.
Moreover, VTA’s economists prepared a report and were deployed to explain that, if enacted, this bill would have removed $605.6 million from Florida’s economy, cost $41.3 million in state and local tax revenue, and put more than 4,500 Floridians out of work. In addition, VTA’s economist testified before the Florida Office of Economic Development Review Committee and was asked to provide additional data for consideration leading to the commission announcing that SB 810 would have serious adverse tax implications for Florida’s economy.
Governor DeSantis took the time to learn about the industry’s impact in the state and understand the legislation’s negative consequences, as seen in his veto transmission letter to Florida’s Secretary of State Laurel Lee. He also recognized that this bill would not achieve its goal of reducing youth vaping. We are pleased that the Governor’s thoughtful veto message clearly reflected the same core issues that we presented in VTA’s request for a veto.
VTA has led national efforts to address underage use of e-cigarettes. Our comprehensive plan announced last year, ensures controlled distribution of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and to impose real limits on access and appeal of all tobacco products to youth. Flavor bans like SB 810 are not effective, rather they eliminate adult alternatives to dangerous cigarettes for adult smokers and devastate small businesses. VTA commends Governor DeSantis for listening to his constituents and understanding the real public health policy implications at stake, specifically, that flavor bans will lead to an unregulated black market and will drive adults back to smoking dangerous cigarettes.
About the Vapor Technology Association
The Vapor Technology Association is the U.S. non-profit industry trade association whose 1000+ members are dedicated to innovating and selling high quality vapor products that provide adult consumers with a better alternative to traditional combustible cigarettes. VTA represents the industry-leading manufacturers of vapor devices, e-liquids, flavorings, and components, as well as the largest wholesalers, distributors, importers, and e-commerce retailers, in addition to hundreds of hard-working American brick-and-mortar retail store owners throughout the United States. Follow us on Twitter.