Florida HB 169

Seal_of_FloridaA local Tobacco Control Advocate shared the following information about Florida Bill HB 169.  The original bill was written to control the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors under the age of 18, but in a last minute maneuver was amended to now establish a pre-emption of all activities on the local level in the retail tobacco environment.

HB 169, which was originally drafted as a bill to address sales of e-cigarettes to minors, has been amended to now establish pre-emption of all activities on the local level in the retail tobacco environment.

This bill, if passed, would have devastating consequences on tobacco control efforts in the state of Florida. The inserted preemptive language would not only prevent local municipalities and counties from passing stronger ordinances which restrict the sales of electronic cigarettes in the future, it would also undo the current ordinances that have been passed around the state.  Additionally, it would overturn existing product placement ordinances, including the Palm Beach County Product Placement Ordinance which has been in place since 2001.

It is time we stopped letting the tobacco industry decide what policies pass in our communities. A Talking Points guide has been provided to Florida advocates by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK). The Tobacco Free Partnership of Palm Beach County is providing you with the following additional points regarding information to help you make an informed decision on this matter:

· Preemption is a tactic that has been used by the tobacco industry since 1985 to suppress local tobacco control efforts in Florida.

· Local ordinances in place regarding product placement are stronger than the minimum standards required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Such ordinances have been successful at keeping tobacco products out of the hands of underage youth.

· It is important that local governments maintain the right to effective address tobacco prevention and control issues in their communities.

· Data from the 2012 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey shows that since 1998, the prevalence of cigarette smoking has decreased 63.1 percent among high school students and 82.2 percent among middle school students, thanks to statewide and local efforts in the form of policy change and initiatives.

Please share this information with all of your community partners, family members, friends, and other individuals who you feel need to be informed about this matter to protect our youth and communities from tobacco industry influence.

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