The smoking of electronic cigarettes, often shortened to e-cigarettes, has become increasingly common. These products, known in legal terms as an example of a “nicotine dispensing device,” have been promoted as healthier alternatives to standard cigarettes. That’s because instead of adding secondhand smoke into the air, users exhale a mostly clear vapor. You may now find people “vaping” on the beach, on the street, and even inside shopping malls, where kiosks vend them. However, not everyone is allowed to use them, and people are not allowed to smoke e-cigarettes everywhere. Here are the current Florida vaping laws.
Florida Vaping Laws Regarding Minors
Florida Statutes 877.112 states that anyone under the age of 18 is prohibited from possessing an e-cigarette or any other types of nicotine dispensing products. This is considered a noncriminal violation, and offenders may still be punished with community service, a $25 fine, and mandatory attendance at a “school-approved anti-tobacco and nicotine program.” Repeating this two times within twelve weeks of the first offense may also result in the suspension or revocation of the convicted minor’s license to drive.
This statute also prohibits the sale of nicotine dispensing devices to minors or giving them to minors in any way. Breaking this law is considered a misdemeanor of the second degree. Penalties may include a maximum fine of $500 and up to 60 days in jail. Committing this offense again within a year of a previous conviction elevates this to a first-degree misdemeanor. Anyone convicted of this charge may have to pay $1000 and spend as much as a year behind bars.
Where Are People Banned From Smoking E-Cigarettes?
Those who are old enough to smoke e-cigarettes legally are still prohibited from doing so in or near specific locations. In 2015, the Sixth Judicial Court in and for Pasco and Pinellas Counties ordered that no one can use e-cigarettes inside their courthouses. They also cannot use them unless they are at least 50 feet away from the courthouses. More broadly, all “firefighter employee places of employment” are completely tobacco-free according to Rule 69A-62.024(6). Electronic cigarettes do not contain tobacco, but they are listed, and prohibited, as an example of a “tobacco-like product.”
There are also laws in effect that prohibit vaping in the workplace. However, these are local laws, and only 19 counties and cities in the Sunshine State have them as of this writing, and they do not affect certain work environments. Currently, 19 localities in Florida ban the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed workplaces. These laws all include restaurants under the ban, but they also follow the example of the Clean Indoor Air Act and give an exemption to bars. Vaping is allowed for people who work outdoors.
These localities range across the state and include populous cities like Miami, Port St. Lucie, and Boca Raton. Vaping in enclosed workplaces is prohibited throughout the counties of Miami-Dade, Alachua, and Marion. Other than that and sixteen other towns – including some that already fall under the jurisdiction of these counties – Floridians are currently free to use e-cigarettes at their jobs, depending on workplace policy.
Broward County currently has no laws regarding the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace, though the city of Lighthouse Point has its own local ban. If you face charges related to Florida vaping laws or the laws regarding tobacco or controlled substances, contact a criminal defense lawyer today. The defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A. can represent you and fight any accusations made against you. Contact us for a free consultation at (954) 462-1005.