The Public Health Law Center has published information on U.S. e-cigarette regulations for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The areas covered include definition of “tobacco product,” taxation, product packaging, youth access/other retail restrictions, and smoke-free air legislation. While some of the states may not have state laws, there may be local laws in place. Florida is a pre-emptive state when it comes to tobacco meaning no local laws can be stronger than the state level.
For the definition, electronic cigarettes are considered a nicotine dispensing device and are defined in Florida as follows:
Nicotine dispensing device means “any product that employs an electronic, chemical, or mechanical means to produce vapor from a nicotine product, including, but not limited to, an electronic cigarette, electronic cigar, electronic cigarillo, electronic pipe, or other similar device or product, any replacement cartridge for such device, and any other container of nicotine in a solution or other form intended to be used with or within an electronic cigarette, electronic cigar, electronic cigarillo, electronic pipe, or other similar device or product.” Fla. Stat. § 877.112(1)(a) (2016)
The second part of the definition is slightly confusing as it defines “nicotine product” as a product that contains nicotine, but doesn’t include a tobacco product. The definition reads:
Nicotine product means “any product that contains nicotine, including liquid nicotine, that is intended for human consumption, whether inhaled, chewed, absorbed, dissolved, or ingested by any means, but does not include a: (1) Tobacco product, as defined in § 569.002 . . . .” Fla. Stat. § 877.112(1)(b) (2016)
According to 2016 Florida statutes 569.002, a tobacco product is defined as “loose tobacco leaves and products made from tobacco leaves, in whole or in part, and cigarette wrappers, which can be used for smoking, sniffing or chewing. But there are vaporizers which use loose dry herbs, although they claim to “boil out the water in the leaves to create vapor,” rather then by burning tobacco. Since loose tobacco is used, do these fall in that grey area?
In 2014, the State of Florida restricted who can purchase e-cigarettes and put into place restrictions for retail or youth access. Not only can persons under 18 not purchase electronic cigarettes, they cannot possess them either. Self-service displays of these products cannot be accessible to those under 18 years “except when under direct control or line of sight of retailer.” That also includes vending machines.
In Florida, cigarettes are taxed at $1.339 per pack, a number that has not been raised since 2009, while cigars are not taxed. At the time the report was written, no information was available regarding excise or special taxes on e-cigarettes, although buyers do have to pay sales tax. Retailers do not need a retail license or permit to sell e-cigarettes in Florida.
According to the report there only two restrictions exist for e-cigarette use: “the courthouses of Sixth Judicial Circuit and within 50 feet of entrances thereto,” and use in “all firefighter employee places of employment.” However, most workplaces, restaurants and bars that are already smoke-free have restricted electronic cigarette use indoors.
If you would like to see restrictions for other states click HERE.