Saturday, February 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Keep e-cigarettes away from minors

Electronic cigarettes do not belong in the hands of minors and Florida lawmakers should ban the sale, barter or gifting of electronic smoking devices to children under 18. Legislation that would do just that appears to be on the fast track in Tallahassee, a smart move that could prevent nicotine addiction in children and another generation of smokers from getting hooked before they are mature enough or there's enough science to know the long-term impact of their decisions.

Electronic cigarettes were introduced widely in the United States about seven years ago. The device — a steel tube, nicotine cartridge and an atomizer — provides smokers with the sensation of nicotine absent the deadly tar that is present in traditional cigarettes. The battery-operated devices deliver nicotine through a vapor that rises when the flavored liquid in the cigarette heats up. Flavors range from classic tobacco to fruity concoctions such as cherry or vanilla cupcake. The sweet flavors and their availability everywhere from corner shops to the Internet have raised concerns about youth smoking and that electronic cigarettes could become a gateway to traditional smoking. Sightings of celebrities smoking electronic cigarettes and robust advertising from manufacturers also have fueled anxiety among health officials and parents.

Public health officials are divided on the danger of electronic cigarettes. Proponents tout their growing popularity as a cessation device. But others say electronic cigarettes may not be safer than their more traditional counterparts because they still provide access to nicotine, which is known to be addictive. The cigarettes are so new that no conclusive data exists detailing the long-term effects of their use. And the industry is not yet regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, leading some to question the products' ingredients, particularly those with flavored liquids that are made in foreign countries.

With mainstream tobacco companies seeking entree into the $1.7 billion electronic cigarette business, Florida lawmakers are wise to step up now and create rules that protect minors. The law already prohibits traditional cigarette sales to that group. It should do the same for the electronic version. With laws in place to stop children from indulging, perhaps science will have the time to catch up and provide data about the effects of lighting up.

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Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Gov. Rick Scott and key members of the Florida Legislature offered ambitious proposals Friday that would plug some holes in the state’s safety net, strengthen school security and spend up to a half-billion dollars in response to last week’s massacre ...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Enough is enough. The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has renewed conversations about gun control in Washington and Tallahassee. Young people are demanding action, and there are cracks in the National Rifle Association’s solid w...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nation’s conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places — South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington — as survivors, victims’ families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Published: 02/22/18

Editorial: FDLE probe of state fair fiasco falls short

It should go without saying that Florida law frowns upon public officials who take freebies from vendors and whose agency throws business to their family. But that wasn’t enough to move the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to find that the ex-di...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

They value guns over kidsSix days after 17 were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a teen-ager firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the Florida House refused to even debate a bill banning the sale of assault weapons. The vote, 71 to 36, wasn...
Published: 02/21/18

Editorial: Nursing home rule should be stronger

It shouldn’t take months or another tragedy for Florida — which is hot and full of seniors — to protect its elderly population from heat stroke in the event of an emergency. That’s why Gov. Rick Scott had the right idea last year in calling for nursi...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.’’ A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he won’t raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trump’s claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nation’s 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

It’s not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18