by Lisa Carlton and Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch
Amendment 9 seeks to ban the exploration or extraction of oil or natural gas in Florida’s state waters. It would also prohibit electronic smoking and vaping in all areas where traditional smoking is already constitutionally prohibited.
This amendment applies to the beaches and waters 10 miles off Florida’s Gulf coast and three miles off Florida’s Atlantic coast. “No exploration” includes no loud underwater seismic testing that causes both beaching and death to dolphins and whales.
Amendment 9 will also update Florida’s Clean Indoor Air Act, first enacted in 1985.1 The act banned smoking in certain public places. In spite of this act, the effects of second-hand smoke remained. Floridians responded in 2002 by organizing a Citizen’s Initiative that led to a constitutional amendment banning smoking in public workplaces, restaurants, and indoor areas.2 This amendment was passed by more than 70 percent of Floridians.3 But, today, new smoking technology has emerged. This technology has many names including vaping, e-cigarettes, vape pens, vape mods, and e-hookah.4 All of these various smoking methods emerged after the adoption of the 2002 constitutional amendment.
Nearly 40 states have banned electronic smoking in public places.5 Currently, Floridians are constitutionally protected from traditional tobacco smoke but not this new smoking technology. Health organizations, such as the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association, support Amendment 9,6 which is intended to ensure that Floridians and those visiting our state will be afforded a true smoke-free environment.
1 Florida Health, Florida Clean Indoor Air Act, http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/indoor-air-quality/indoor-air-act/index.html.
4 U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General — Executive Summary (2016), available at https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/documents/2016_SGR_Exec_Summ_508.pdf.
5 List of vaping bans in the United States, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_vaping_bans_in_the_United_States.
6 American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society Position Statement on Electronic Cigarettes (Feb. 2018), https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/e-cigarette-position-statement.html; American Lung Association, E-Cigarettes — A Real Threat to Young People’s Health (Mar. 16, 2018), http://www.lung.org/about-us/blog/2016/12/e-cigarettes-a-real-threat.html.
LISA CARLTON served as a commissioner on the 2017-18 Constitution Revision Commission and is co-owner and manager of the Mabry Carlton Ranch, Inc., in Sarasota County. The ranch is a diverse agricultural business comprised of a cow-calf operation as well as citrus groves. She has spent much of her life in public service, including most recently as a Florida state senator. She received a bachelor of arts degree from Stetson University and a juris doctor from Mercer University School of Law.
JACQUI THURLOW-LIPPISCH was appointed by Senate President Joe Negron to serve as a commissioner on the 2017-18 Constitution Revision Commission. She is a former English and German teacher, Realtor, and mayor. Her interests in local water issues lead to her blog, Indian River Lagoon, that tracks algae growth, toxic plumes, and shares information and political commentary.