E-Cigarette Ordinance in Marion County
MARION COUNTY - Electronic cigarettes may be growing in popularity and that has caught the attention of lawmakers at all levels.
State senators have advanced a bill that would prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors, but the bill has yet to move in the House.
One North Central Florida county isn't waiting for the state to pass the law.
"This is the battery part. You screw on the battery," said Johnny Vapor.
Vapor is a businessman who owns an electronic cigarette store in Ocala. E-cigarettes are battery powered devices that provide doses of nicotine.
"My average customer is 31 years old. The most popular flavor is blueberry watermelon," said Vapor.
These devices are currently unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration, but the FDA is considerating new e-cig regulations.
Vapor said using an e-cig is a healthier alternative to traditional smoking, but some people worry it's hurting young people.
"I've seen two kids that I can think of now that have tried e-cigs because they thought oh it's not tobacco I can use it and it's cool," said Thomas Andersen who is a student at Howard Middle School.
According to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, more than 1.7 million middle and high school students had tried e-cigarettes in 2012.
Before Tuesday, people in Marion County were allowed to use e-cigarettes pretty much anywhere they wanted to, including the workplace, public rest rooms and meeting places like the county commission auditorium.
But commissioners unanimously voted to adopt an ordinance that prohibits the use of e-cigs anywhere in the county where smoking is prohibited. That's something e-cig users aren't thrilled about.
"I think it's actually going to dis-improve public health by causing smokers who were interested in switching over to not switch now," said Jeff Wood.
The ordinance also prohibits self service merchandising and bans the sale of e-cigs to anyone under the age of 18.
"I was very happy because it's a better stand point for our future generation because nicotine can cause cancer," said Andersen.
"I have a nine -year -old and I don't want him being subjected to the harmful affects of e-cigs and I don't think the general public should be," said Commissioner David Moore.
E-cigarette users and sellers who were at the meeting said they support the ban on selling to minors, but they don't agree with limiting where someone can use an e-cig.
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