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.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.