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March 8, 2024
4 min to read

Florida and Virginia Pass Registry Bills

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Jim McDonald

Updates

Update April 8  Virginia Gov. Youngkin has returned HB 1069 to the House with his recommendation (an amendment) that would postpone enforcement of the PMTA registry for a year. The General Assembly will reconvene on April 17 to consider the recommended amendment, which could be accepted as is (the bill would then become law), or the change could be overridden by a two-thirds vote (and the law passed with the original enforcement dates).

Update March 21  It has been reported that the changes to the Florida bill made just before its passage (described in this article’s third paragraph) were actually suggested by Governor DeSantis, which means he will not veto the bill. We have edited the article to remove some of the Florida-focused content, including the CASAA call to action.

Legislators in Florida and Virginia have passed PMTA registry (or directory) bills in both state houses, and the bills now await approval or veto from their state governors. If the bills are signed into law, thousands of popular vape products could be removed from store shelves in those states.

The Virginia bill, like similar bills pending in more than 20 other states, would require vape manufacturers and sellers to certify under penalty of perjury that their products have been authorized for sale by the FDA, or are currently undergoing premarket review by the agency.

The Florida bill was amended just before passage to create a “reverse registry”—a list of products compiled by the state attorney general that are prohibited in Florida. Rather than manufacturers listing products that are allowed for sale, the registry would be populated by products the attorney general shows, through a rulemaking process, are “attractive to minors.” But, even though the amended bill exempts open-system products from being listed, and makes the creation of the list more difficult, it could still cause headaches for consumers and the independent vape industry.

Registry bills: an unwelcome gift from Big Tobacco

The bills were written and lobbied for by R.J. Reynolds and Altria Group—big tobacco companies seeking to protect declining sales of their cigarette brands and unpopular Vuse and NJOY vapes. Similar laws have already passed in Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. If the bills are signed into law, they could create havoc for vapers, create black markets, and force many people back to smoking.

The FDA has authorized just seven vaping devices (and some tobacco-flavored refills)—all made by subsidiaries of Altria, R.J. Reynolds, or Japan Tobacco. Together those devices represent less than five percent of the convenience store vape market, and virtually none of the specialty vape market (vape shops and online sellers).

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Virginia residents: contact your governor!

The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) has issued calls to action that allow residents to send a letter asking their governor to veto the bills. You can send CASAA’s prewritten letter, or modify it with your own personal story, which is preferable (or replace the prewritten letter completely with your own text).

If you call, be polite. Tell the operator you’re calling to urge Gov. Youngkin to veto SB 550 because it will ban products you use to avoid smoking. If you’re able, add that you don’t support handing the small vaping industry to Big Tobacco. Youngkin reportedly already has concerns with the registry bill. He may respond favorably (with a veto) if he’s aware of strong consumer opposition.

Virginia - ask Gov. Glenn Youngkin to veto SB 550/HB 1069

Write: use the CASAA Call to Action - remember to add your personal story!

Call: (804) 786-2211

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Note

March 9 update This article was updated to explain amendments to the Florida bill included just before passage.

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Jim McDonald

Vaping since: 12 years

Favorite products:

Favorite flavors: RY4-style tobaccos, fruits

Expertise in: Political and legal challenges, tobacco control haters, moral panics

Jim McDonald

Smokers created vaping without help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and I believe vapers have the right to continue innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I’m a member of the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy

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