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Columbia commission members vary on timeline of vaping regulation

A female using a vaping device.


As vaping related-illnesses continue to make headlines across the country, local leaders have varying opinions about how to move forward with regulations.

Columbia's Substance Abuse Advisory Commission scheduled a meeting for Wednesday, but not enough members showed up to take any action.

The commission was set to discuss the vaping issue and come up with recommendations for the Columbia City Council to look over before making any decisions about a temporary ban on e-cigarette products.

Commission member Gary Smith compared vaping products to cigarettes. "It's always been my position that vaping is just like smoking and should be regulated in the same way," Smith said.

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to study the effects of vaping, Smith said he believes local government should wait to see what the federal government plans to do before moving forward with restrictions.

Commission member Jennifer Roelands wants to see regulations sooner rather than later.

"I think Columbia should move forward regardless," Roelands said. "It takes time for (the federal government) to evaluate those cases and figure out what is the link or the cause. That could take a year."

Roelands supports the temporary ban on e-cigarette products within city limits.

"I think anytime you identify that there are increased deaths that are related to a product, you should ban it until you find out what is the actual cause," Roelands said. "Is it a particular brand? Is it the product itself? Is it access?"

Opposition to the ban say vaping is a healthier option than smoking cigarettes and that adults also enjoy using flavored e-cigarette products.

The commission meets next on Dec. 11.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia
substance abuse advisory commission
vaping ban

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Connor Hirsch

Connor Hirsch reports for the weekday night shows, as well as Sunday nights.


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