White doesn’t believe the hype that e-cigarettes will eliminate the desire to smoke.
“It’s a tobacco product and another path to addiction,” he said. “The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) hasn’t determined anything about the health aspect of it and it’s a totally unregulated industry. It’s not even inspected like lettuce is.”
Having heard stories that the e-cigarette cartridges could be filled with marijuana or other illegal substances, White is adamant that the new devices should be placed in the same category as traditional tobacco products.
“I’m a true believer that we can’t just give lip service to staying healthy. We should treat these e-cigarettes just like regular tobacco use, making it embarrassing for people to use them or tax the heck out of it,” he said. “The logic is the same.”
OKC wouldn’t be the first city in Oklahoma to outlaw e-cigarettes. Ada has banned e-cigarettes on public property while the University of Central Oklahoma and the University of Oklahoma have outlawed their use anywhere on campus. Officials at Oklahoma State University have delayed their decision on a possible ban until December.
E-cigarettes are a smokeless way to ingest nicotine, although some users choose products without nicotine. In those instances, the devices emit vapor.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reportedly are working on legislation that would classify e-cigarettes as tobacco products. Already, some states have passed their own regulations. Utah, North Dakota, Arkansas, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. banned e-cigarettes indoors. California has banned e-cigarettes online.