Independence looks at e-cigarette ban - KCTV5

Independence looks at e-cigarette ban

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INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) -

A growing number of smokers are now puffing away on electronic cigarettes instead.

Some of the country's biggest cities have banned the e-cigarettes, and now one local community is looking at the idea.

When someone is using an e-cigarette, more than likely it's just vapor or steam coming out of their mouths. But a local retired doctor says they should be banned.

Retired physician Dr. Donald Potts went before Independence City Council asking them to consider a city ordinance against e-cigs. Potts said the fake cigarettes powered by a lithium battery still contain nicotine and he's concerned that teenagers will refill them with other dangerous liquids, like antifreeze.

"Big concern is kids using this as a gateway. After a while they start smoking e-cigs because they look cool and they become addicted to it. That's the bad thing about e-cigs - it's still nicotine," Potts said.

But store owners and some e-cig users say the electronic cigarettes are much healthier than regular cigarettes.

Doug Stevens, owner of Vapor Up, said there are e-cigs that do not have any nicotine and smokers can gradually wean themselves off of cigarettes by using e-cigs.

"A knee-jerk reaction honestly. It's not based on science. People think if it looks like smoke, it must be smoke. But the product that we have is a liquid-based vapor," Stevens said.

KCTV5 also spoke with Independence Mayor Don Reimal, who is also in favor of a city ban on e-cigs. The City Council will take it up with the legal department.

"It's just too dangerous. Too easy to do what they shouldn't be doing with them, and you don't know what kind of a concoction they're gonna come up with," Reimal said.

Angela Oryor, of Independence, says e-cigs helped her quit smoking. She's against a city ban.

"I feel a whole lot better, like I actually have energy when I wake up, and I can smell. I can actually taste things again. It is kind of nice," she said.

Opponents of e-cigs say they pose another health risk. 

The American Association of Poison Control Centers issued a warning Tuesday about the danger e-cigs and the refill bottles can pose to children. KCTV5 first reported on the problem in February.

KCTV5's Alice Barr reported that the University of Kansas Hospital Poison Control Center took two dozen calls of nicotine poisoning last year and this year - 11 of those involved children.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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