Pipes, bongs and hookahs could disappear

Tobacco Shop

Pipes, bongs and hookahs could soon disappear from shelves in Florida

Rep. Darryl Rouson is supporting HB 49 that takes away exclusion in existing law that permits cigarette stores to sell smoking pipes. His bill would prohibit the selling all pipes in Florida.

Nevertheless, the St. Petersburg Democrat’s bill does not presently present any exclusion for various kinds of pipes, such as corn cob.

Pipes made from metal, wood, ceramic and more would be banned as would hookahs, chamber pipes and bongs. These can presently be bought from tobacco retailers if the shop’s yearly gross income from the product does not surpass 25 %. If the bill switches into law, those pipes would have to disappear from shelves by October 1 of this year.

Sale of hookahs would also be prohibited. But, the hookah cafes that have appeared in a lot of cities, often as adjuncts to bars of restaurants, would not have to be closed.

Rouson’s bill would make the sale of the pipes penal by no more than a year in prison and any following infractions would lead to no more than five years in prison. The Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco could also fine the retailer as much as $1,000 per pipe, Rouson mentioned. The division could also postpone or revoke the retailer’s license.

Luke Lirot from the Law Offices of Lirot in Clearwater represented many smoke stores in court that challenged the constitutionality of present law regarding smoking gadgets. Their challenge of the law failed, but an appeal to that ruling is now on approval. He and his client prepare to challenge Rouson’s bill if it makes it into law.

Sen. Kelli Stargel has an identical bill (SB 1140) that would allow pipes to stay on the shelf if the purpose of the seller is that the gadget be used for tobacco products. Her bill particularly protects pipes that are mainly made of corn cob, briar, clay or meerschaum while Rouson’s presently does not.

Rouson said he is ready to unite his bill with Stargel’s to involve the exemptions that hers holds for certain types of pipes.

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