Georgetown makes e-cigarettes illegal in public places

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by TINA SHIVELY and photojournalist KENNETH NULL

KVUE News

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 23 at 10:53 AM

GEORGETOWN, Texas -- E-cigarettes are now illegal to use in public places in Georgetown.

The city council considered several factors when passing the ordinance two weeks ago, including how safe the devices really are.

The new rule goes into effect Wednesday. It's an extension of the city's current ban on indoor smoking.

Electronic cigarettes, vaping devices and liquid nicotine are now added to the ban. It is now illegal to use them in places like restaurants, buses, government buildings, art galleries, and hotels.

The debate over their safety is going on worldwide. Some say e-cigarettes can help traditional smokers quit. Others argue that their flavored liquids, with names like cotton candy and cherry crush, and their blue lights they could attract children and act as a gateway to start smoking real cigarettes.

A CDC study found nearly 2 million young people had tried e-cigarettes, so city leaders hope that bans like this will turn that trend around.

The FDA hasn't fully studied e-cigarettes because they are relatively new, but testing of cartridges from two leading brands detected di-ethylene glycol, a toxic chemical used in antifreeze. However, the agency does admit e-cigarettes have far fewer toxins than traditional cigarettes.

The FDA has hinted it will begin to regulate them as soon as this year. So far, the only action the agency has taken was back in 2010, warning distributors to stop making various marketing claims they could not back up.

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