TALLAHASSEE – On July 1, Florida’s Clean Indoor Air Act (FCIAA) will be updated to prohibit the use of e-cigarettes, also known as “vaping,” anywhere smoking is already prohibited. This change is the result of an overwhelming voter mandate in last November’s elections, where nearly 70% of Florida voters cast ballots in support of Amendment 9 to add a prohibition on using electronic smoking devices in most indoor workplaces to the state’s Constitution.
“We are facing a youth e-cigarette epidemic, and the July 1 update to FCIAA is a long overdue and critical modernization of our constitution. Adding a prohibition on using e-cigarettes where smoking is already prohibited will protect Florida’s workers, visitors and families from the potentially harmful chemicals present in the aerosol generated by these devices,” said Heather Youmans, senior director of government relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) in Florida.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, the aerosol emitted from e-cigarettes is not harmless. It can contain harmful and potentially harmful chemicals, including: nicotine; ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs; flavoring such diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds such as benzene, which is found in car exhaust; and, heavy metals, such as nickel, tin and lead.
“Florida has always been at the forefront of tobacco prevention and has seen steady declines in youth cigarette smoking, but dramatic increases in using e-cigarettes among teens has threatened to reverse that trend,” continued Youmans. “Adding e-cigarettes to Florida’s Clean Indoor Air Act helps ensure the enforcement of existing smoke-free laws are not compromised by the current e-cigarette epidemic and that the public health benefits of smoke-free laws are not undermined.”
Youth e-cigarette use has increased dramatically across the country and in Florida. In 2018, about 25 percent of Florida high school students reported current use of e-cigarettes – a 58 percent increase compared to 2017.
“The overwhelming voter support of Amendment 9 highlighted the critical need to address the effects of youth e-cigarette use,” said Youmans, “July 1 will mark a critical point in the modernization of our state’s Clean Indoor Air Act, and one that will enable all Floridians to breathe cleaner air and live healthier lives going forward.”
The American Cancer Society estimates that 135,170 Floridians will be diagnosed with cancer this year and 45,030 will die from the disease. Additionally, nearly 30% of cancer deaths in the state are a direct result of smoking.