By TYLER MASK
After a lengthy discussion regarding e-cigarettes at an April Mineral Wells City Council meeting, Mineral Wells Police Chief Dean Sullivan told the council he would study the situation further. Tuesday, Sullivan brought MWPD’s findings.
“As I mentioned during [April’s] meeting, and we have further confirmed, there are currently no federal or state regulations in regards to the sale, possession, use, misuse, abuse of these electronic cigarettes by minors or adults for that matter.”
Sullivan went on to say that law enforcement anticipates legislative action to be taken regarding e-cigarettes in the next session, but he believes that this next piece of legislation will simply require declaratory language on bottles regarding safety and things of that nature – nothing to do with the regulation of the sale to minors.
“I don’t think the feds are going to be able to establish any kind of control with respect to the sale to persons under whatever age, in our case, under 18,” he said.
This doesn’t mean the city cannot put out an ordinance regulating e-cigarette sales, particularly liquid nicotine, but it will be complicated.
“The potential regulation of nicotine [is] going to be problematic,” he said. “As far as treating [e-cigarette] devices as some type of paraphernalia – paraphernalia falls to the manner of the intended use of the object. Anything can be used for paraphernalia. … So, if we go down that path, that’s going to be particularly problematic and could pose a potential legal challenge to our ordinance, and particularly my officers.”
MWPD made several non-undercover purchases of the e-juice liquid that goes into e-cigarettes from local vendors to have them tested for controlled substances. Everything came back negative. They also had a desire to test the e-juices to see if what was claimed to be in them was accurate; however, this proved to be cost prohibitive as each liquid would run four figures to test, Sullivan said.