Martin County Unanimously Passes Ordinance Regulating Electronic Nicotine Devices
June 12, 2018

On June 12, the Martin County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to pass an ordinance to reduce youth access and exposure to electronic cigarettes.

The ordinance prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes to minors under the age of 18, places the products behind the counter requiring retailer-assisted sales, and bans the use of the devices in places where traditional tobacco is currently banned under the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act.  The ordinance also bans the products at county parks, where traditional tobacco products currently cannot be regulated due to state preemption.

The ordinance was recommended by county staff and commissioners alike who were concerned by rising rates of use by middle school and high school students in Martin County.

Martin County Comissioner Ed Ciampi

Commissioner Ciampi commented on the prevalence of electronic cigarette devices, particularly JUUL, in Martin County schools, and the marketing of these products at local retailers with candy flavored nicotine, which is especially enticing to youth.

In addition to banning the use of the devices in places traditional tobacco is banned under the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act, Commissioner Smith requested that ENDS products also be banned within 50 feet of the entrances to indoor public spaces, in order to eliminate ENDS use at outdoor dining areas.

Martin County Commissioner Doug Smith

"Martin County is completely within its rights to regulate these drug delivery devices," said Dr. Barry Hummel of the QuitDoc Foundation. "The FDA regulations grant local communities to authority to regulate the time, place, and manner of the sale and marketing of all tobacco products, including as electronic nicotine delivery devices such as e-cigarettes.”

The action taken by the Martin County Board of County Commissioners demonstrates local governments passing rules to protect its youth from nicotine addiction and to de-normalize the act of smoking, whether by traditional or electronic means. Martin County has joined a growing list of cities and counties in Florida that have passed regulations concerning the sale and marketing of these electronic nicotine delivery devices. “Since vaping devices are not covered by the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act,” added Dr. Hummel, “it is important that local communities throughout take action to protect the public from the chemical emissions created by these devices.”

Recently, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that electronic cigarette use among middle and high school youth has continued to increase at an alarming rate.  Use of traditional tobacco products fell to 4.2 percent among Florida high school students, while the use of electronic cigarettes among teens in the Sunshine State has increased dramatically in recent years to 16 percent.

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