LUBBOCK, TX -- This week, the city of Eastland, TX banned the use, sale, or possession of electronic cigarettes products by minors. Eastland the latest in a handful of Texas cities to make that move.
There are no state or federal restrictions on the sale of "e-cigs" to those under the age of 18. But here in Lubbock, you'll be hard-pressed to find a store willing to sell to minors. Travis Pharr, owner of Lubbock's first e-cigarette shop "180 Vape" says they opted not to sell to minors from their very beginning, and most (if not all) of their competition has followed suit.
Unlike Eastland, Lubbock currently has no laws regulating the use of e-cigarettes, by minors or otherwise. And Mayor Glen Robertson says, don't expect any bans to come along anytime soon. He says no one has approached him or his office about considering such a proposal. Even if someone did, he says he's on the fence as far being in favor of banning these products for minors.
"I think it's one of those that we have to be real careful to not have a kneejerk reaction to. Initial reaction would be sure, we don't want minors to have this," Robertson explains. "But then think about the 17 year old who's smoking cigarettes currently, smoking cigarettes heavily. And then he decides he wants to quit and thinks [e-cigarettes] might be a good alternative."
But not everyone feels the same as the mayor does. Jeremy Hart works at 180 Vape, the first e-cig shop to open in Lubbock. From day one, they've refused to sell to minors, simply out of choice.
"We don't feel it's morally or ethically responsible to sell to underage kids," Hart explains. "I think it would be beneficial for everybody involved if the city of Lubbock would get involved and make an ordinance or law that kids under 18 can't even own anything nicotine related."