Hillsborough commissioners consider stricter regulations on vaping

Hillsborough County commissioners are considering ways by which the county can curb underage electronic cigarette use during a regularly scheduled meeting. 

A vaping ordinance will be discussed during a commission meeting Wednesday. If approved, it would ban Hillsborough County businesses from selling, giving or trading vape devices to anyone younger than 21. The measure would also ban anyone under 21 from using -- or having any vape product or device.

It would also become illegal for adults over 21 to distribute the products to anyone below 21 years old. Finally, it would ban people from vaping indoors at work, and anywhere else where smoking is not allowed. 

LINK: The full ordinance can be viewed on the Hillsborough County website

A month earlier, commissioner Sandra Murman prompted the board to direct the county attorney's office to come up with legislation that would increase regulations on vaping devices by people younger than 21. 

On Wednesday, the county attorney's office will present the ordinance to the board for consideration. The ordinance is aimed at regulating businesses that sell vape devices and products. It's also supposed to place increased regulation on selling, possessing and using electronic cigarettes by people 18 to 21 years old. 

The ordinance followed a move at the state level by Florida Representative Jackie Toledo, who introduced a proposal in September to raise the minimum age to purchase vaping and tobacco products from 18 to 21. At the time, vaping businesses in Tampa said a ban goes too far, while doctors at Tampa General Hospital said they supported the measure. 

The CDC acknowledged on September 27 that a vast majority of the mysterious vaping-related lung illnesses reported in recent weeks were linked to black-market cannabis products and not nicotine.