The American Heart Association is speaking out against the state overreach found in House Bill 1299, a bill supported by tobacco companies and other corporate interests, which blocks local governments from doing more to protect the well-being of their communities. The bill, which passed from the Florida House Commerce Committee today, includes removing local ability to regulate tobacco marketing, taxation and minimum legal sales age.
Statement from Mark Landreth, Florida government relations director for the American Heart Association:
“House Bill 1299 would make it impossible for local communities to pass laws that would help protect children from tobacco and nicotine addiction. Big Tobacco spends more than $600 million to target children in our state. This is about our communities, our health and our voices, and when states block communities from passing commonsense laws that protect their citizens, there are consequences. In this case, the victims will sadly be a new generation of Floridians struggling with the burden of tobacco addiction.”
“In Florida, counties and cities currently have the option to build on state progress. For example, Alachua County has taken local initiative, already passing a law that increases the minimum legal sale age of tobacco products to 21, and many other Florida counties have expressed interest in doing so.
“But if the state overreach in House Bill 1299 passes, these jurisdictions will be unable to pass policies to protect the quality of life and health of their citizens. Florida’s state laws often provide a foundation which local governments can build upon, rather than a ceiling they cannot break. This bill, however, silences communities, and would be a big win for the tobacco companies hoping to prey on our children.
“From a state level, we need to set standards to protect Floridians, but local communities should have the right to do more to take care of their residents. This bill is the state telling communities they can’t be trusted to do what’s right for the health of their citizens.”
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.