Nacogdoches officials looking into banning E-cigarettes

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Cities are researching the legal risks of banning e-cigarettes. It's happening in Nacogdoches.

Nacogdoches City Attorney Rob Atherton is brushing up on E-cigarettes.

"I think they call it vaping because of the vaporization," Atherton said.

He's right. It's the kind of research he'll present to city council tomorrow night. Sooner or later the council will have to decide how the popular growing contraption fits in with the city's smoking ban.

"Frankly if some entity wanted to regulate E-cigarettes it would primarily be through simply redefining what smoking is," Atherton said.

Nacogdoches restaurants are already asking if they're in violation of the ordinance when a customer puffs on an E-cigarette. Atherton's response was, "You can salute them and let them go on their way, but right now they are not in violation of the City of Nacogdoches anti-smoking ordinance."

E-cigarette user Lindsey Gonzales says she respects smoking ordinances by not smoking around others and using the vapors as a way to stop her pack-a-day tobacco habit.

"It was a very easy transition for me," Gonzales. "I haven't even thought of a cigarette from day one because you're getting all the same effects. You're still getting the nicotine."

Gonzales will soon be working in her brother's new E-cigarette store in Diboll. The ex-tobacco smoker is taking a wait and see approach before opening up a store in Nacogdoches.

"As far as banning it or prohibiting it I think we need more information on the subject," said Eric Fleetwood, an e-cigarette user and a business owner.

That is why Atherton is consulting with cities, such as Lufkin, where E-cigarette bans are  already in place.

"I would feel more comfortable if there was more science behind it or if there was a specific federal regulation," Atherton said.

Right now the attorney is just informing the council to get ahead of an issue that's already smoking with debate.

Atherton will address the council tomorrow evening at its regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30. Next month, Congress may give the Federal Drug Administration authority to take an official stance on the topic.

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