By TYLER MASK
Should e-cigarettes be sold to minors? The largest part of Tuesday night's Mineral Wells City Council meeting revolved around this subject, which was presented by Charles Thompson out of a concern for youth and children who might be exposed to what he believes are non-minor products.
In a report Thompson compiled to share with the council, Thompson said, “A study reported in the journal, 'JAMA Pediatrics' that Teens who use e-cigarettes are more likely than their peers who do not use the devices to smoke regular cigarettes. The liquid nicotine, the fluid that fuels e-cigarettes, is meant to be converted into a vapor, and it can be deadly if ingested as liquid. The Amarillo Poison Control Center says even just a small amount can lead to vomiting, sweating and seizures, which in some cases can lead to death. In 2011, they had 10 cases. But, last year they had over 100 cases.”
At first, much of the council was taken back to learn that minors could, in fact, purchase e-cigarettes, along with the fluid containing nicotine. After a few questions from the council, Mineral Wells Police Chief Dean Sullivan chimed in on the conversation.
“A lot of the stores, especially here in town, are self-policing,” Sullivan said.
“They won't let somebody under 18 – in good conscience – do it. As far as an absolute standard [we do not have one] currently. This is kind of a moving target, there are a number of cities that already have got ahead of it, thinking they are going to need to. We are taking a more conservative approach across the board. We are not looking at it to treat it like a cigarette. It is not tobacco, as Mr. Thompson pointed out, even though it may be a derivative. The FDA is continually updating their research, but they haven't regulated it yet.”