The Board of Aldermen held a public hearing Tuesday night on a proposed ordinance which would add vape device restrictions to the city’s smoking ban.
Taylor Thompson, an Oxford local and owner of the Cloud 9 vape shop, was the only person to speak at the hearing. Thompson discussed misconceptions about vaping and its alleged dangers.
“I would like to invite any of you to visit my shop in your spare time and be introduced to what vaping really is,” Thompson said.
Thompson talked about how vaping can be wrongfully associated with illegal vape devices sold on the black market. Thompson said those devices are dangerous because they can contain a form of vitamin E, which can be harmful if inhaled.
Thompson advocated for the benefits of vape products and for those who use it as an alternative to cigarettes, while also talking about the dangers of traditional tobacco products. She also advocated for the restriction of access to minors.
After the hearing, Thompson further explained her position on the proposed ordinances.
“I was told that they were having a hearing to change the local law to 21 age limit from 18, which I don’t completely disagree with,” Thompson said. “I have personal views where I don’t agree with it, but as far as the industry goes, we all stand united for the 21 in compromising on the age restriction, because you have students who are 18 and still in high school who are becoming what is known as ‘vape dealers,’ who will go and buy a bunch of vapes (and distribute them)” Thompson said.
On Feb. 4, Oxford Police Chief Jeff McCutchen proposed that three vape device restrictions be added to the city’s current smoking ban. The board then voted to hold a public hearing on the ordinance at its next regular meeting.
The first provision specifies a restriction on the possession of vape devices for people under the age of 21. The second mirrors state law, restricting elementary, junior high or high school students from possessing any such devices on any school campus, and the third is a restriction which mirrors federal law on selling or distributing these devices in any capacity to anyone under 21 years old.
Following the hearing, the board considered this ordinance to be a matter of public health, waiving the the 30-day waiting period for the ordinance to go into effect. If the board votes to pass the ordinance after its second public hearing in two weeks, it will take effect immediately.