American Heart Association at odds with Orlando's smoking policies


  • Photo by Beraldo Leal via Flickr

The American Heart Association is drawing a line in the sand when it comes to Orlando and its smoking laws.

The AHA just hosted its annual Scientific Sessions convention at the Orange County Convention Center, which profited about $67 million for Orlando's economy, according to Channel 9.

However, beginning Jan. 1, 2017, the AHA won't conduct any conventions in cities that still allow indoor smoking, according to Fred Shea of Visit Orlando. This is proving to be a difficult mandate for Orlando, which still allows indoor smoking at public lodgings with designated smoking guest rooms and stand-alone bars.

Smoking laws in Florida are regulated by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Because the state government regulates smoking laws, cities and counties aren't able to enact harsher rules than the current law.

Business conventions are a huge cash cow for Orlando. Between 2013-2014, the Premiere Beauty Show funneled $108.7 million into Orlando's economy while the PGA Merchandise Show raised $80.7 million, according to the Orange County Convention Center.

Orlando isn't just about taking from businesses, though. The Greater Orlando Heart Walk raised $1.09 million for the American Heart Association this past September, according to Meagan Mills, spokeswoman for the American Heart Association Greater Southeast Affiliate.

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