E-cigarettes may soon be added to Smith County's no smoking policy (Soure: KLTV Staff)
Smith County Commissioners discuss adding e-cigarettes to current smoking policy (Soure: KLTV Staff)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
Electronic cigarettes may soon be added to Smith County's no smoking policy. Not all e-cigarettes contain nicotine or tobacco, but Smith County officials said in Tuesday's commissioners court meeting that may not matter. Commissioners said employees have been seen smoking the e-cigarettes in and around county buildings. In order to avoid confusion and checking every product for tobacco, they feel it would be easier to ban all vapor, with and without tobacco.
Liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes has recently sparked investigations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Drug Administration.
"The CDC came out with a study suggesting the vapors can be absorbed through the skin and the eyes, so it does affect those that are around you," said Smith County Judge Joel Baker.
E-cigarettes are not addressed in the current county smoking policy signed in 2011. The policy only restricts the use of regular cigarettes or tobacco within 50 feet of a county facility.
"I always thought they were for people trying to quit smoking but I understand now they have a nicotine in them," said Precinct 1 Commissioner Jeff Warr.
At Tuesday's meeting, Judge Baker and Precinct 4 Commissioner Joann Hampton spoke up in favor of adopting a policy limiting electronic cigarette use.
"We have to make the necessary changes in our policy or someone will say it's not in our policy," Hampton said.
"I would be in favor or eliminating the use of e-cigarettes or whatever product they use that creates vapor within the confines of the buildings and within 50 feet just like the no smoking policy," Baker said. "We can't go test every device for presence of nicotine."
Tia Fields says she has used an e-cigarette at work and at home in hopes of quitting smoking. She said she thinks there's no harm in smoking an electronic cigarette inside buildings or near an entrance to a building.
"I've seen them inside and I've seen them outside. I haven't seen too many people that complain about them being inside because unless you look at a person you won't know they're smoking it because you can't smell it," Fields said.
While there was not a vote on the topic Tuesday, the commissioners will meet again next week to discuss the possibility of including electronic cigarettes in the current smoking ordinance. Copyright 2014 KLTV. All rights reserved.
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