E-Cigarettes Cause Mixed Emotions at City Council Public Hearing

By Courtney Burris | cburris@krbc.tvg

Published 07/24 2014 06:14PM

Updated 07/24 2014 09:12PM

City Council voted Thursday to ban the sale and use of E-Cigarettes to minors, but not to impose the regulations of them in public places.  This is after a big turnout of vocal residents showing up at the public hearing.

Many shared testimony of how vaping helped them quit smoking cigarettes, but a small portion of the audience says there are too many unknowns about the electronic cigarettes. 

"There's pregnant women, there are children, there are elderly, everyones wondering whats in this and I think it would be irresponsible to say well we don't know if its bad, but lets just go ahead and let it be," explains one concerned citizen that took the podium. 

Around twenty people came forward in the public hearing and only three spoke in favor of the ordinance change. It was clear that after the council spent time discussing it, they did not all agree either.

"I am inclined to kind of come down on the other side of it," said Councilman Jay Hardaway after Councilman Kyle McAlister explained his stance on the issue. 

When the decision was made to make it illegal for minors to buy e- cigarettes, but to continue to allow e-eicgrettes in public places, there were mixed reactions in the room. 

"I was praying for it. I was hoping for it. I believe that if we had enough good information and enough confident people in there, that we would be able to get the results that we wanted," explains Hope Dougherty, assistant manager of 151 Vapes. 

Some say for them, the issue is not weather to allow vaping in public or not. "This is America. I don't need a council telling me what I should allow in my business or not," explains Abilene businessman, Steve Savage.

One councilman who is in favor of adding e-cigarettes to the smoking ordinance says that although the whole council did not come to the same consensus as he does personally, he is glad that people have the opportunity to share their feelings.

"Its wonderful that people showed up to express their opinions. We may not agree and apparently we don't agree, but we still have  a great opportunity to express our opinions, make our feelings known, come to a conclusion and move on," explains Kyle McAlister.

To read more on the council's decision, click here

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