Mar.2024 11
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Will Florida and Virginia Governors Sign or Veto Big Tobacco Protection Bills?
Will Florida and Virginia Governors Sign or Veto Big Tobacco Protection Bills?

Legislators in Florida and Virginia have passed PMTA registry (or directory) bills in both state houses, and the bills now await approval or veto from their state governors. If the bills are signed into law, thousands of popular vape products could be removed from store shelves in those states.

The Virginia bill, like similar bills pending in more than 20 other states, would require vape manufacturers and sellers to certify under penalty of perjury that their products have been authorized for sale by the FDA, or are currently undergoing premarket review by the agency.

The Florida bill was amended just before passage to create a “reverse registry”—a list of products compiled by the state attorney general that are prohibited in Florida. Rather than manufacturers listing products that are allowed for sale, the registry would be populated by products the attorney general says are “attractive to minors.” But, even though the amended bill exempts open-system products from being listed, it could still cause major headaches for consumers and the independent vape industry if signed into law.

Registry bills: an unwelcome gift from Big Tobacco

The bills were written and lobbied for by R.J. Reynolds and Altria Group—big tobacco companies seeking to protect declining sales of their cigarette brands and unpopular Vuse and NJOY vapes. Similar laws have already passed in Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. If the bills are signed into law in Florida and Virginia, they could create havoc for vapers in those states, create black markets, and force many people back to smoking.

The FDA has authorized just seven vaping devices (and some tobacco-flavored refills)—all made by subsidiaries of Altria, R.J. Reynolds, or Japan Tobacco. Together those devices represent less than five percent of the convenience store vape market, and virtually none of the specialty vape market (vape shops and online sellers).

Florida and Virginia residents: contact your governor!

The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) has issued calls to action that allow residents of the two states to send a letter asking their governor to veto the bills. You can send CASAA’s prewritten letter, or modify it with your own personal story, which is preferable (or replace the prewritten letter completely with your own text).

If you call, be polite. Tell the operator you’re calling to urge the governor to veto the bill because it will ban products you use to avoid smoking. If you’re able, add that you don’t support handing the small vaping industry to Big Tobacco.

Florida Gov. DeSantis has been sympathetic to the vaping industry before, vetoing a flavor ban bill in 2020. He may do it again if Florida residents ask him to. In Virginia, Gov. Youngkin reportedly already has concerns with the registry bill. He too may respond favorably if he’s aware of strong consumer opposition.

Florida – ask Gov. Ron DeSantis to veto H 1007
Write: use the CASAA Call to Action – remember to add your personal story!
Call: (850) 717-9337

Virginia – ask Gov. Glenn Youngkin to veto SB 550/HB 1069
Write: use the CASAA Call to Action – remember to add your personal story!
Call: (804) 786-2211

- By Jim McDonald from Vaping360

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