Legislation to rein in illegal Chinese disposable vape market gains momentum
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Almost 95% of e-cigarettes, including illegal disposable vape products, come from Chinese manufacturers.

Florida has an illegal disposable vape problem. Legislation moving through the Legislature aims to fix that and keep both consumers and retailers safe from these harmful products.

SB 1006 by Sen. Keith Perry and HB 1007 by Rep. Toby Overdorf are gaining momentum in their respective chambers.

Almost 95% of e-cigarettes, including illegal disposable vape products, come from Chinese manufacturers. They end up on smoke shop and convenience store shelves, and eventually into the hands of Florida’s youth. The Florida Retail Federation has reported that at least $363 million in illegal vape products were sold in Florida just last year, ranking Florida No. 1 in illegal vape sales. Florida sits at 20% above the national average in illegal vape sales, making up a whopping 58% of overall vape sales in the state.

While the federal government made it illegal to sell tobacco products that are attractive to children back in 2009, Congress went a step further in 2022 and clarified that synthetically derived nicotine products — not directly from tobacco plants — also applied to this law.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, has failed to enforce this measure and today, these illegal disposable vape products are immensely popular among youth and teens. Flavors like “Rainbow Candy” and “Blue Razzleberry” are being sold in Florida stores, and these vapes are often designed to look like school supplies such as highlighters or flash drives.

Due to the FDA’s lack of enforcement capabilities, these illegal and unsafe products from China are flooding Florida’s market.

The legislation, which is modeled after cigarette directories in all 50 states, would require vape manufacturers to register with the state of Florida and certify that their products are compliant with both federal and Florida law. If a vape manufacturer is found in violation of these requirements, they would be subjected to a fine.

Vape products that are legal and compliant under the law would not be impacted by this legislation. The bills also allow for manufacturers currently undergoing the FDA process to remain on the market until the process is complete.

Groups have come out in opposition to the bills, expressing concern that it will ultimately hurt them. What they fail to mention is that they are lobbying for the unscrupulous Chinese vape manufacturers they are in business with and their shady business practices.

For example, the American Vapor Manufacturers’ biggest donors include companies like Mi-One Brands. Mi-One sells products from the manufacturer Heaven Gifts which, according to reports, “described how it could help customers evade import fees and taxes.” The manufacturer’s “website advertised ‘discreet’ shipping methods to buyers, including not mentioning e-cigarettes or its company name ‘anywhere on the package.’ Instead, the company said contents would be labeled as “atomizer, coil, tube, etc.”

This same company, based in Shenzhen, China, is the manufacturer of Elf Bar —  which was named the overwhelming favorite e-cigarette of America’s youth.

Ironically, it’s unclear if the American Vapor Manufacturers actually represent any U.S.-based manufacturers.

Others against the bill, including those who testified in Committee, sell illegal disposable vape products on their website in flavors such as “Blueberry Cereal Donut Milk” and “Cinnamon Funnel.”

Similar approaches to rein in the illegal disposable vape market have been taken in other states, including Alabama, where their vapor directory has roughly 1,400 unique products available.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


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