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DeSantis signs bill banning vaping in workplaces

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Floridians will have to keep their e-cigarettes on the shelf while in most enclosed workplaces starting this summer, under one of 10 new laws signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The workplace ban on vapor-generating electronic devices (SB 7012), better known as “vaping,” implements part of a constitutional amendment that also asked voters to ban oil and gas drilling off Florida’s shorelines.

The amendment drew support from more than 68.9 percent of voters in November.

The law, which goes into effect with the start of the next fiscal year on July 1, mirrors a similar ban in Florida on smoking tobacco in enclosed indoor workplaces.

Individuals that violate the ban face a maximum civil penalty of $25, 50 hours of community service or the need to successfully complete a school-approved anti-tobacco “alternative to suspension” program.

Vaping proponents argue that the product helps people get off cigarettes.

“I personally have witnessed hundreds of people, in hundreds of stores in the state, transition from smoking to vaping and then to not vaping,” Joshua Unger, owner of Von Vape in Sarasota, told members of the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee on Feb. 5.

As with the tobacco ban, the new law allows vaping at private residences that are not used for commercial purposes and places such as stand-alone bars, designated rooms in hotels, retail vape shops, and facilities owned or rented by membership association, smoking cessation programs, or for medical or scientific research.

The bill, sponsored by Trilby Republican Wilton Simpson and Lithia Republican Rep. Mike Beltran, was among 10 DeSantis signed into law on Friday.