TOPEKA (KSNT) — California health officials say electronic cigarettes are a health threat, especially to children.
A California lawmaker has proposed a ban that would limit the public places a person could smoke an e-cigarette.
Smoking is prohibited in public places in Kansas restaurants, bars, your place of employment, but as far as there being a regulation in place on e-cigarettes, the state doesn’t have many.
“It’s just so new and it takes time to get laws in place and get that research behind them,” said Misty Kruger, Shawnee County Health Agency Public Information Office.
And that lack of regulations is allowing electronic cigarette users to get around the statewide smoking ban.
“It’s got to be better with no nicotine,” said Dylan Swanson, Co-owner, Juicy’s Vapor Lounge.
And that’s why many ex-smokers like Dylan have switched to e-cigarettes.
“It’s easy and accessible to quit. Without really addressing the cold turkey thing because you can wean yourself down on different nicotine levels,” said Swanson.
But the chemicals used in e-cigarettes are drawing increasing criticism from public health officials.
“It could lead to any of the same health conditions that you would associate with a cigarette. So cancer, lung issues, mouth issues,” said Kruger.
Some states want them regulated just like any other tobacco product. Several Kansas cities – like Overland Park and Olathe – have banned them in public places. Nowhere in Kansas can anyone under 18 buy them….but that’s the only universal regulation in the state.
Still in 2014, the national monitoring the future study found that more teenagers across the country use e-cigarettes than regular ones.
Last month, says the study, 9 percent of eighth-graders, 16 percent of 10th graders and 17 percent of 12th graders admitted to using e-cigarettes.
“We have been working with some of our local school districts and re-writing their tobacco policies and that has included bans on e-cigarettes on school properties. Some of the schools now have detention if they are caught violating tobacco policies,” said Kruger.
While the state of Kansas hasn’t made up its mind on e-cigarettes – the University of Kansas has. Last year the university banned them from all campus buildings.
Currently there’s no bill before state lawmakers to regulate e-cigarette use in Kansas. And those we spoke to tonight who use them say they would fight any proposal to limit their use.