In one of the last pieces of legislation sent to Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) during the 2020 legislative session, he was asked to consider Senate Bill 810, a statewide ban on the legal sale of flavored nicotine e-cigarettes and vapor products to adults. At 8PM last night, the governor announced his veto of the legislation, citing both concerns about the risk of adult vapers returning to smoking and the economic consequences of shutting down small businesses across Florida who sell these products to adults looking to make the transition to less harmful alternatives. 

Americans for Tax Reform applauds Governor DeSantis, who is the first governor in the nation to veto legislation that would ban flavored nicotine e-cigarettes for adults. 

In his veto transmission letter, Gov. DeSantis explained: 

“This legislation would almost assuredly lead more people to resume smoking cigarettes, and it would drive others to the hazardous black market. The latter consequence is especially significant because the much-publicized cases of lung injury associated with vaping in recent years have been traced to illegal, or black market, vape cartridges containing THC, not to the type of legal vaping products that this bill would abolish. 

Reducing the use of all nicotine-related products, including vaping, among our youth is an important goal, but this will not be achieved by eliminating legal products for adults and by devastating the small businesses who provide these adults with reduced risk alternatives to cigarettes.

For these reasons, I hearby veto SB810.” 

ATR urged the governor to veto this legislation earlier this year, explaining:

“In Florida alone, the nicotine vapor industry employs more than 10,000 Floridians. A ban on flavored products would kill over 4,500 jobs, eliminate $186.6 million in employee wages, and reduce economic output by $605.6 million, according to an analysis conducted by John Dunham & Associates.

…Not only are e-cigarettes twice as effective at helping smokers quit as traditional nicotine replacement therapies like the nicotine patch or lozenge, but flavored vapor products are essential in the quit journey of so many adult smokers. Limiting adult choices to only those products that may remind them of the flavor of cigarettes will do little to transition them to reduced risk alternatives. We know that adults not only like flavors but need them to successfully quit, evidence found in national adult preference surveys like those published in the journal Harm Reduction, which found that over 80% of adults prefer flavored vapor products over traditional tobacco or menthol ones. For adult smokers who can begin to make the switch, the evidence suggests that it’s a significant improvement for one’s health. In fact, the Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England has concluded that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes.” 

Americans for Tax Reform has long argued that the importance of flavored e-cigarettes for adults looking to quit smoking isn’t simply about more choices but a matter of life and death. The governor’s understanding that both lives and jobs are on the line underscores his embrace of tobacco harm reduction, even going against the grain of the prohibition voices within his own party. For the more than 1.3 million adult vapers in Florida, this may prove to be one of the most consequential and positive public health moves of the DeSantis administration to date.

[Testimonials from adults who rely on flavored vapes, in order to quit and stay off cigarettes]

More governors should follow the lead of DeSantis, who listened to the concerns of entrepreneurs, passionate adult vapers, and credible academics who have examined the science around the benefit of smokers making the switch to nicotine e-cigarettes.