Cigarette smoking may be on the decline, but vape usage is on the rise. “Vapes,” which are also known as e-cigarettes, are nicotine dispensing devices that produce vapor from nicotine products. From mint to mango, vape users can inhale an array of flavors, which results in a “buzzed” feeling.
To meet the demand for vapes, retailers are looking to implement accessible vape vending machines at their venues. Florida Statutes Chapters 569.31–.45 defines the requirements and regulations for e-cigarette vending machines in the state. Under the Florida Statutes, the term “nicotine product” includes any nicotine dispensing device. In Florida, persons under 21 years old are prohibited from purchasing and possessing nicotine products. Before the sale of a nicotine product, a dealer, the dealer’s agent, or an employee must obtain proof of the purchaser’s age before selling them the product unless they appear to be 30 years old or older. Furthermore, the dealer must display a clear and evident sign that states it is unlawful to sell nicotine products to persons under 21 years of age.
What are the requirements and regulations for e-cigarette vending machines in Florida?
As of late 2021, Florida Statute Section 569.32(1)(a) requires that any person or entity that seeks to sell nicotine products, which includes e-cigarettes and vapes, must obtain a retail nicotine products dealer permit for each place of business or premises at which nicotine products are sold. The dealer must clearly display the permit on or near the vending machine. However, if the dealer wants to have multiple vending machines in one location, then he or she only needs to obtain one permit for that location. Only persons 21 years of age or older may obtain retail nicotine products dealer permits, and these permits are issued annually. The permit must be renewed each year if desired by the dealer.
Nicotine devices sales in Florida are only permissible from a machine that is equipped with an operational lockout device that is under the control of the dealer, dealer’s agent, or employee who manages the sale of the nicotine products through the machine by prompting the lockout device to dispense a single nicotine product. Under Florida Statute Section 569.37, the lockout device must include two mechanisms: (1) a mechanism to restrict the machine from operating if the power source for the lockout device does not work or if the device is disabled; and (2) a mechanism to make sure that a single nicotine product is dispensed at a time from the machine. However, a dealer does not need to have an operational lockout device on the machine at establishments or premises that prohibit persons under 21 years old.
Could I get in trouble if I operate an e-cigarette or vape vending machine without a retail nicotine products dealer permit?Yes. Under Florida Statute Section 569.34, operating a nicotine product vending machine without a valid permit is a noncriminal violation of up to $500.