TYLER, TX (KLTV) -The number of people seen vaping in the City of Tyler may soon drop.
On January 23, The Tyler City Council approved a change to the city's smoking ordinance that bans vaping and the use of other electronic cigarettes in public places.
“So that’s going to include restaurants; it’s going to include bars and movie theaters,” says Sharon Roberts, Senior Assistant Attorney for the City of Tyler. “Anywhere that allows the public to come in.”
The city says one reason behind the decision is reducing any possible risks from secondhand smoke, but the main reason is joining the fight against teens and vaping.
“In the last year alone, there’s been a 78 percent increase in the number of youth that are vaping,” says Roberts.
Dr. James Stocks, a pulmonary specialist with UT Health East Texas, says that statistic comes with its own set of problems.
“Nicotine is terribly addicting, and so for children that start an addictive chemical, it becomes part of them,” says Stocks. “It becomes very hard to quit."
Stocks says nicotine can also cause cardiovascular issues, such as blocked coronary arteries and heart attacks, but the most dangerous aspect of vaping may be what attracts teens to it in the first place.
“I’m much more fearful of the flavoring compounds,” says Stocks. “Some flavoring compounds are clearly dangerous. It’s clearly toxic for the lungs and it can cause very bad COPD at a very young age.”
In November of 2018, the FDA issued a warning letter to one e-cigarette company saying their flavors make their products appear kid-friendly.
"All that does is set them up to be addicted to real cigarettes later on," says Stocks.
Numerous Texas cities have already cracked down on electronic smoking devices including Round Rock, Austin, Frisco, and Lufkin, a growing trend that Stocks believes will be beneficial.
"I think that these regulations have been a deterrent for tobacco smoking, so I think that they will serve as a deterrent for vaping,” says Stocks.
Those who violate the City of Tyler’s amended smoking ordinance may face a $300 fine. The ordinance also bans smoking marijuana out of electronic devices. The fine for that is $2,000.