TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - Five million, or nearly seven out of ten voters approved a ban on indoor workplace vaping in November. State lawmakers got the message and are moving forward with implementing legislation.
Legislation creating the same restrictions on indoor vaping as those on tobacco brought out the state’s major health groups.
“The combustible tobacco product, the biggest problem is the nicotine that’s in it,” said Mark Landreth with the American Heart Association.
“If you use an e-cigarette, you are four times more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes,” said Matt Jordan with the American Cancer Society.
It also brought out a small army of entrepreneurs who sell vaping equipment and juices, who say they are not tobacco merchants and shouldn't be treated like them.
“We are not affiliated with a big tobacco company,” said Joshua Unger from Sarasota. "Our business is helping people quit smoking.”
“Vaping is 95 percent safer than combustible cigarettes,” said Delorres Orlando from Clearwater.
After almost an hour the legislation moved forward. Committee Chair Senator Wilton Simpson says lawmakers are still learning what is proving to be a complex issue.
“I think we’ll get better information as we go forward,” said Simpson. "It may not be better information, but it will be more information.”
Under the legislation that is moving, vaping would be treated just like smoking cigarettes. It would be allowed in bars and places where it’s the only thing being sold, but nowhere else.
The American Cancer Society wants vaping lumped in with tobacco, saying it will free up money to help people quit.
“Basically, you used to smoke on planes, they let pregnant women smoke,” said Jordan. "Just because something is status quo, it doesn’t mean it's acceptable.”
However, the entrepreneurs would prefer lawmakers do nothing.
In the end, if local governments don’t like what lawmakers do, the amendment allows then to enact stricter prohibitions.