Woman files lawsuit seeking to abolish tampon tax in Florida

3 state agencies named in suit


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Things like Band-Aids, lip balms and cough drops are tax-exempt, and women around the state are asking for the same treatment for feminine products that they say are necessary to live healthy lives.

A Hillsborough County woman has filed a lawsuit seeking to abolish Florida's so-called tampon tax.

"Female sanitary products, tampons, pads, stuff like that, used almost exclusively for women, are taxed, and have been taxed, and so we feel like that is discriminatory on its face. It obviously affects women disproportionately," said Dana Brooks, a Tallahassee lawyer who is representing the plaintiff.

Three state agencies are named in the suit, as well as Walmart, Walgreens, Target, Publix and CVS.

Barbara DeVane of the National Organization for Women supports the lawsuit. She said it's absurd that tampons are being taxed and other products aren't.

"If you can exempt bunion pads, why not menstrual pads? Petroleum jelly, wart removers and, for heaven's sake, ostrich feed," DeVane said. "There are more women than ostriches in the state of Florida."

"It's a public hygiene and safety issue that is being disproportionately. These costs are being taken on by women," Brooks said.

The class-action suit is seeking money for women who have bought the products in the past three years.

The attorney in the lawsuit said she hopes the Legislature will act and repeal the tax. The New York state Legislature recently repealed a tax on feminine hygiene products, and California has a similar lawsuit pending.