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Florida Jumps on Board to Regulate Vapes as Tobacco Products

In Florida, recent legislation seeks to define e-cigarettes as tobacco products and also restrict flavored vape products to be sold at 18 and over stores.   Although some reports have determined that e-cigs and vapes are much safer than traditional cigarettes, the potential harmful effects seem to have motivated the restrictive lawmaking.  Surprisingly, the new law’s focus is regulation and licensing based and does not seek to tax the evolving vape market. 

The law impacts several provisions of Florida Statutes.  However, its primarily function amends the regulation and licensing of “tobacco products” to broadly include all nicotine products.  Further, the proposed bill and its senate counterpart create a new bucket of tobacco called “flavored tobacco products” and prohibits retailers from dealing such products unless there is an age prohibition and the products cannot be openly displayed without meeting certain requirements.  The newly defined tobacco products for purposes of section 569.002 includes “hookah and waterpipe tobacco, electronice nicotine delivery systems and their components, e-liquid, dissolvable tobacco, nicotine gel, smokeless tobacco, cigarettes, cigars, roll-your-own tobacco, [and] pipe tobacco.”

Unlike its chapter 569 counterpart, tobacco is taxed pursuant to Chapter 210, Florida Statues.  While it is ominously missing from the new bill, one can only suspect Florida will begin taxing e-cigarettes and nicotine as many other states have done.  We will continue to follow the developments of this and similar bills closely.

Gerald “Jerry” Donnini II is a shareholder of the Law Offices of Moffa, Sutton, & Donnini, P.A. Mr. Donnini concentrates in the area of state and Federal tax matters, with a heavy emphasis on the tobacco, alcohol, motor fuel and related industries. He also handles a myriad of multi-state state and local tax issues. Mr. Donnini is a co-author for CCH’s Expert Treatise Library: State Sales and Use Tax and writes extensively on multi-state tax issues for SalesTaxSupport.com.  For more information please call us at 888-966-8216.

The Full Text of SB 1046

 Florida Senate 2019 SB 1046 By Senator Mayfield 17-00381A-19 20191046__

 Page 1 of 6 CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.

 A bill to be entitled 1

An act relating to tobacco products; amending s. 2 569.002, F.S.; redefining the term “tobacco products” 3 to include all recreational nicotine products; 4 creating s. 569.0035, F.S.; defining the term 5 “flavored tobacco products”; prohibiting retail 6 tobacco products dealers from dealing in flavored 7 tobacco products unless they prohibit persons under a 8 specified age on the premises; providing for a civil 9 penalty; amending s. 569.007, F.S.; authorizing the 10 sale or delivery of tobacco products in direct, face-11 to-face exchanges with dealers or their agents or 12 employees; removing a provision that allowed the sale 13 or delivery of tobacco products from a vending machine 14 equipped with a certain device; adding specified 15 products to the list of products that are exempt from 16 the direct sale requirement; prohibiting certain 17 retailers from placing certain products or devices in 18 an open display unit unless the unit or the 19 establishment in which the unit is located meets 20 specific requirements; repealing s. 877.112, F.S., 21 relating to nicotine products and nicotine dispensing 22 devices; amending ss. 322.056 and 569.14, F.S.; 23 conforming provisions to changes made by the act; 24 providing an effective date. 25

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Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 27

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Section 1. Subsection (6) of section 569.002, Florida 29 Florida Senate 2019 SB 1046 17-00381A-19 20191046__

Page 2 of 6 CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.