Leading Public Health Groups Urge Gov. Ron DeSantis to Veto Bill That Would Reverse Decades of Progress in Protecting Youth from Tobacco

May 6, 2021

TALLAHASSEE, FL – May 6, 2021 –The Florida Legislature last Wednesday passed SB 1080 – a bill disguised as a solution to today’s youth tobacco epidemic.

Below is a statement on behalf of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation/Tobacco21 in reaction.

“We are extremely disappointed by the Legislature’s vote on Wednesday to pass the bill – a move that will hurt Florida communities and fail to protect Florida youth. Lawmakers have claimed the bill would align state law with the federal tobacco 21 law. Instead, it will place Florida in violation of federal law with exceptions for military under 21 and certain tobacco products. While we’ve long supported raising the age of sale for tobacco products to 21, it’s also a tactic we’ve seen for decades by Big Tobacco to muddle bills with seemingly promising policy.

“Concerned about the rising use of tobacco among teens, the federal government’s decision to raise the age of sale to 21 in 2019 marked a vital step in reducing youth tobacco use and what state agencies and the FDA have been following as a standard for the compliance checks in Florida since its passage. Though the federal law does not require states to raise the age of sale through legislation, it does require states to demonstrate compliance with the federal age of sale and enforce the age without exception and exemption. It may also violate a state constitutional provision that was overwhelmingly approved by Florida voters in 2006, directing the state to follow CDC best practices for tobacco control.

“By blocking the power of elected officials at the local level to protect kids – and failing to  take any meaningful action at the state level  – we risk another generation addicted to deadly tobacco products and the illness and premature death that come as a result.

“Once state preemption bills pass, they are nearly impossible to repeal. At such a pivotal moment for public health, too much is at stake if this bill becomes law. Decades of progress in protecting Florida youth from deadly tobacco products will  be reversed while thousands of young lives hang in balance.

“Florida kids are continuing to use tobacco at alarming rates, with one in four high schoolers reporting use of e-cigarettes. On behalf of all Florida families affected by deadly tobacco, we urge Governor DeSantis to veto the bill and preserve the right of our communities to protect the health of their residents.”


About ACS CAN at 20 
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that saves lives. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and made workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free. As we mark our 20th anniversary, we’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers and save more lives from cancer. Join the fight by visiting

About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

About the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation/Tobacco 21
The Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation/Tobacco 21 works to reduce youth use and addiction of tobacco and nicotine products by advocating for policies that raise the legal sales age, establishing strong enforcement protocols, and supporting other proven tobacco control initiatives.  

About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

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