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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Council delays e-cigarette decision

C
ollege Station Council members voted to postpone a decision on the proposed ordinance that would limit the use of electronic cigarettes and vaporizers.
Mayor Nancy Berry and other council members said the time would allow ordinance drafters to consider other business exemptions.
In Monday’s meeting, Chris Jarmon, assistant to the city manager, presented the council with an amendment to Chapter Seven of the College Station Code of Ordinances that includes rules about e-cigarettes.
Jarmon said the city is concerned with both the addictiveness of nicotine in e-cigarettes and the lack of state or federal regulation.
“We noted that the FDA has not approved these products for tobacco cessation, and we think that’s an important point,” Jarmon said.
The ordinance calls for the city to do two things: prohibit the use and sale of e-cigarettes to minors and prohibit e-cigarette use where traditional cigarettes are already banned.
“One thing that we do is build in an exception or exemption for vapor shops, which is essentially, an e-cigarette specialty shop,” Jarmon said.
No members of the council opposed the sections pertaining to minors, but the last section sparked some concern over the infringement of liberties.
“My general stance on personal liberties is that unless they’re hurting somebody else, I’ll let people make all the bad decisions they want to make, as long as they’re not a minor,” Council Member James Benham said.
While the staff has built in exemptions to the ordinance for vape shops, representatives of Social Lounge, a bar in the Northgate district, said their business will still be adversely affected if the ordinance is passed.
Social Lounge serves e-hookah to customers 18 and over. Jordan Paultz, Social Lounge assistant manager, said the e-hookahs sold do not contain nicotine or toxins, unlike other types of hookah, and are rented for use inside the shop rather than sold.
“This gives people a way to satiate their cravings without inhaling harmful nicotine products which are full of carbon monoxide, tar and nicotine,” Paultz said.
E-hookah rentals do not make up enough of sales to currently qualify Social Lounge for an exemption under the proposed ordinance, said Jarmon.
Berry said the ordinance should not be passed without first examining and discussing these exemptions.
“I’m just wondering if we want to put this off until you can discuss this with the owner,” Berry said. “They’re not letting anyone in under the age of 18.”
Benham said he didn’t want the council to rush through this decision and that he too would not vote to pass the ordinance due to concern that current research on the topic is inconclusive.
An amended version of the ordinance without the last section was voted down 5-2. The council’s final decision was to defer voting on the ordinance until the next regularly scheduled meeting, which is set for Sept. 11.

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