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Local Lawmaker Proposes Statewide Youth E-Cig Regs
Efforts to keep minors from buying electronic cigarettes are gaining steam here in Texas. A campaign started in the Hays County town of Kyle now has the attention of Texas lawmakers. We aren't talking about an outright ban, but a law that would outlaw possession of e-cigarettes by anyone under 18. Kyle now has such a law on the books, and that law could soon go statewide.
Students in Hays ISD were first to suggest the same rules that ban school kids from smoking should apply to e-cigarettes or vaping. They convinced the Kyle city council to ban possession of e-cigarettes by anyone under 18. And now their state representative, Jason Isaac, plans to propose a statewide ban.
Isaac says, "It was something that was a shock to me." Adding, "I didn't realize that it wasn't already prohibited because nicotine is a drug."
Shops like the Phoenix Vapor Shop in North Austin say the proposed law is much ado about nothing. The manager says they don't sell to minors.
Catherine Slocombe explains, "If they're not 18 we don't sell to them. That's pretty much our policy in a nutshell. We don't want kids having nicotine either."
She says she realizes it's not a popular thing to say, but an e-cigarette is a cessation product. It helps wean adults off traditional cigarettes. She adds, "We have 80 to 100 people a day who come here to quit smoking."
Opponents worry the fun flavors make e-cigarettes attractive to kids and there's nothing to keep users from experimenting with their own ingredients. Isaac adds, "You could have someone vaping hash oil or vaping thc -- the drug in marijuana -- or other substances unknown, and someone second-hand wouldn't be able to tell what they were vaping."
The state isn't the only government body looking at regulating vaping. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering requiring that all e-cigarette vapor mixes be tested. The shops say the cost of that alone could drive them out of business
By Fred Cantu