COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Columbia City Council reviewed a report Monday from the Columbia/Boone County Board of Health asking the council to temporarily ban the sale of flavored e-cigarette products within city limits.
The temporary ban is meant to buy time for city staff to create a more permanent ordinance.
The report says flavored e-cigarette products can cause youth to become addicted to nicotine. It also listed the recent rise in lung injuries associated with using e-cigarette or vaping products as another reason to ban the sale of the products.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since Tuesday, more than 1,800 cases of vaping related lung injuries have been reported, and 37 deaths have been reported in 24 states.
Mahree Skala from the Columbia/Boone County Board of Health said the goal of the ban is to protect youth.
"The goal is to reduce the incredibly rapid increase in teen use of vaping devices. And therefore to decrease the number of teenagers who are becoming, and young adults, who are becoming addicted to nicotine as a result of using flavored vaping fluids," Skala said.
"Nicotine has even more impact on adolescent and young adult brains than it does on older people's brains. And it also, the earlier you start the much harder it is to kick the habit," She said.
She said the board sought out information about the dangers of vaping after members suggested looking into the issue.
A group of people were protesting the possible ban outside of city hall Monday.
Kathryn Lake said people wanted to protest the ban because vaping is a healthier option than smoking cigarettes. She said adults also enjoy using flavored e-cigarette products, and there are already preventative steps in place to prevent teenagers from using the products.
"Any vape shop that you go into, not necessarily, I can't speak for convenience stores, but they are being carded, and whether it's a fake ID or whatnot, we're going to find it, we're going to stop it. And that's not going to be a sale made," she said.
The council decided to request a more in-depth report from the board of health before it takes any steps to further restrict the products.