Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, has vetoed a bill that would have prevented cities and counties in Ohio from introducing their own bans on flavored tobacco and vaping products.
Last month, the Republican-dominated Ohio General Assembly passed a number of bills during a lame-duck session. One of them was H.B. 513, which would have preempted cities and other local governments from passing their own laws that would have restricted the sales of flavored tobacco and vaping products. Supporters of these preemption bills argue that they allow for states to have uniform laws from city to city, though they also serve as a way for state governments to block cities from enacting laws that they oppose. This has become a common tactic as a way for Republican-led state legislatures to stop Democratic-led city governments from enacting laws that the legislature would oppose.
DeWine, who previously called for a ban on flavored vaping products, reiterated his position against flavored vaping products while announcing the veto. He said that a statewide ban would create a uniform law.
While H.B. 513 had broad support in the Republican-controlled General Assembly, it was passed during the 134th General Assembly, which ended on Dec. 31, 2022. That means for the bill to pass again with a veto-proof margin, the 135th General Assembly would need to start the process over again and cannot simply vote to override the veto according to DeWine’s office.
Two days before the bill passed the Ohio Senate, the Columbus City Council voted unanimously in favor of banning the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping products in Ohio’s capital. Now that DeWine has vetoed H.B. 513, Colmbus’ law can take effect.