Electronic cigarettes could be banned from Smith County facilities
POSTED: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 8:47pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 3:04pm
Tyler , TX (KETK) — It's possible that electronic cigarettes could be banned inside and outside of all Smith County facilities. Several complaints have been filed with the county about people using e-cigarettes at work, therefore, the Smith County Commissioners court has decided to revisit it's smoking policy to stay current with this growing trend.
"The controversy in all of this has been it looks like smoke, its not smoke, its vapor," said Justin Campbell, general manager of Uptown Vapor Lounge in Tyler. Campbell says his product is helping east Texans put down cigarettes for good. He said they've "helped over 20,000 people in the Smith County, East Texas area quit smoking due to this device.," and that "it has been a positive trend and its gaining momentum, and I see it needs to be addressed in certain situations such as county offices, public buildings, and stuff like that."
Tuesday morning Smith County officials addressed recent complaints about people using e-cigarettes inside and outside county facilities. "I think we had a juror actually smoking an e-cigarette on the jury panel or something," Terry Phillips, Smith County Court Commissioner Precinct 3. Phillips says its concerns like this, that are causing them to revisit their smoking policy. "Its in the works, it has not been voted on, it has not been banned as of yet or whatever, but it will be addressed I will assure you," said Phillips.
Currently the policy has no verbatim on 'vaping,' but Phillips says as technology changes, policies need to adapt. Campbell agrees, and said "I wouldn't see someone using an electronic cigarette in a courtroom during a murder trial for instance, using an electronic cigarette in a courtroom, its disrespectful to the court and the facilities." However, Campbell doesn't believe there should be a ban in all public places. "It doesn't have any health effects on the people around us, its a more positive change, now whenever you do enact a ban in a public facility, you're pushing people to go out where smokers are, and we're exposing ourselves to second hand smoke again, which is exactly what we're trying to get away from," said Campbell.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the liquid nicotine inside some of these devices can be harmful to your eyes and skin. This is why Phillips also told KETK they'll do anything to insure the safety of their employees in the workplace. He also said they would readdress this issue after officials become become more informed about it.