Lawmaker pushes for tougher e-cigarette regulations
By Kontji Anthony| April 27, 2014 at 8:59 PM CDT - Updated July 27 at 7:50 AM
(WMC) - There are no federal guidelines for electronic cigarettes, and it could take more than a year for that to happen.
One Shelby County lawmaker says that due to the growing number of children reportedly getting poisoned by vapor cigarettes, parents cannot wait for the feds.
E-cigarette stores are popping up all over Shelby County. As it stands, they are mostly unregulated.
Shelby County Commissioner Steve Basar is worried the smells and flavors of e-cigarettes such as starburst, bubble gum, and cherry crush, lure young people.
"I think it's a big public health concern," said Basar.
Tennessee Poison Center data shows last year, kids were five times more likely than adults to be poisoned by either smoking e-cigarettes or from direct contact to the liquid.
"The symptoms people are reporting are predominantly nausea, vomiting, and eye irritation," said Dr. Tim McAfee, Center for Disease Control Office on Smoking and Health.
However, some people say e-cigarettes helped them quit smoking real cigarettes.
"It wasn't really hard to stop. You have to put your mind to it," said e-cigarette user Craig Alexander.
A VaporWize e-cigarette store on Kirby Parkway has mannequins holding an ad in the back of a pickup truck. Basar says the sign circumvents every code in the book.
"We need to get code enforcement out there to stop these folks from some of their deceptive advertising practices," added Basar.
E-cigarettes cannot be sold to anyone under 18 in Tennessee, but Basar wants to ban radio and TV ads, like regular cigarettes.
"At a minimum, we should restrict it on county properties, but I'd also like to see the city take it up and get some enthusiasm on it at the state level as well," said Basar.
WMC Action News 5 received a statement from VaporWize Sunday night. They say they will accept and uphold any legislation that is put in place on e-cigarettes and e-liquids. They are also willing to work with code enforcement on any issues with sign dolls.