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Orange Park proposed e-cigarette ordinance would limit users

9:56 PM, Oct 14, 2013   |    comments
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ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- A new ordinance proposed by Orange Park would classify electronic cigarettes like regular cigarettes. 

The town council is expected to have a final hearing Tuesday and, if passed, the ordinance would prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in places were smoking is already banned.

The proposal is causing some opposition among smokers like Tom Clingan who has tried everything to quit.

"I've tried the gum. I've tried hypnosis. I've tried acupuncture. I've tried the patch," said Clingan.

Clingan has been a smoker for 45 years. He says he used e-cigarettes for a while to help him quit smoking, it didn't work, but he says he has friends who have benefited from it.

"I know a lot of people who have used electronic cigarettes. I've been in offices where people were using and there has not been not one person that I know of, that has ever been agitated by the electronic cigarettes," said Clingan.

In Orange Park the use of electronic cigarettes is currently allowed even in places where smoking is prohibited. The proposed ordinance before town council would change that.

Electronic cigarettes do not contain tobacco, but instead heat a liquid that can contain nicotine or flavored vapor that is inhaled by the user. 

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County supports the ordinance and says "studies have shown that the vapor that is emitted from electronic cigarettes still contains numerous chemicals that can be harmful to someone's health."

The partnership says there are no long term studies on the effects of exposure or how much "second hand vapor is too much." 

But some users like Abby Love-Caton, a bartender at Cheers Park Avenue says she's never had any issues while using her electronic cigarette.

"Actually, I've had people come up to me and ask me where I got it," said Love-Caton.

The ordinance would also ban the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone younger than 18, an effort also applauded by the Tobacco Free Partnership which states that e-cigarette use has increased by 75 percent among high schoolers in one year.

Many non-smokers and smokers say the ban on sales for minors seems reasonable, but they don't agree with limiting the public use of it for adults.

"They don't want to let anybody smoke, but they don't want to give anybody the opportunity to quit," said Clingan.

The Clay County Board of Commission passed a similar ordinance in May, but it does not apply to municipalities.

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