At last week’s meeting, the Board of Aldermen presented a new city ordinance restricting the use of vape pens and e-cigarettes. To accomplish this, the board is extending the definition of tobacco products to include any vaporized tobacco or flavored substance.
This new policy comes at the perfect time. More reports are being published showing the harmful effects of vapes. As children are increasingly becoming addicted to the substances in vapes, it is time for our local government to take a stand.
Mississippi is one of a handful of states with strict laws against vape products. Among the ranks of states taking a stand are New York, Massachusetts and Texas. All of these states have recognized the dangers of vapes and e-cigarettes and want to encourage society to move away from these addictive substances.
The Board of Aldermen has two objectives in proposing this ordinance. The first objective the city of Oxford is accomplishing is beautification of the city. Vapes are less intrusive to bystanders than cigarettes, but they still detract from everyone’s enjoyment in public areas.
Every college student knows the annoyances of the people in the library and in classes trying to discreetly exhale their hit of nicotine and of walking behind someone on the way to class only to be hit with a cloud of mango or mint vapor.
This city ordinance would make vape use indoors or outside of designated smoking zones illegal, and menacing clouds of vapor would no longer plague passersby.
The second objective the city seems to be targeting is the use of vapes by young adults. The less prevalent vapes are, the less inclined teens will be to try them to seem “cool” or fit in with the crowd.
Recent studies show the alarming effects of these products, especially among young adults. Vape pens were originally created to wean cigarette smokers off of deadly carcinogens and on to healthier alternatives. For these people, e-cigarettes and vapes have been massively successful.
However, vapes are becoming popular with young people. Once teens are hooked on the product, they are rarely able to quit easily. Big vape brands like Juul have capitalized on this and are now paying for it. Many have been under scrutiny by government agencies for seemingly targeting teens with fruity flavors that entice them to try the product.
The Board of Aldermen is doing an admirable thing in beautifying the city and seeking to decrease vape use among young adults. They are leading the way to a better city for everyone.
Lauren Moses is sophomore accounting and political science major from Dallas.