up in smoke

City of Houston bans vapes and e-cigs under smoking ordinance

City of Houston bans vapes and e-cigs under smoking ordinance

vape e-cig smoke smoker
Vaping indoors could be a thing of the past in Houston. Photo via Pixlr

E-cigarettes don't currently fall under Houston's smoking ordinance, but they do now.

The ordinance, which was passed in 2006, prohibits smoking tobacco inside public places, within 25 feet of a public building's entrance or exit, and other public areas, including bus stops and outdoor spectator events.

On Wednesday, March 30, Houston City Council added g e-cigarettes and vaping products to the smoking ordinance, going into effect immediately.

"When smokers breathe in the aerosol (from e-cigarettes and vaping products), it contains nicotine, chemicals that could cause cancer. It can also have flavorings that cause serious lung disease," said Houston Health Department spokesman Porfirio Villarreal.

Dr. Lindy McGee, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, said the toxic chemicals in vaping can create risks for all ages. She also emphasized concern for teenagers and adults.

"Youth smoking was going down, down, down, and then the vaping industry came along," said McGee. "In 2018, we had 25 percent of teenagers saying that they had vaped within the last 30 days. That's gone down a little bit, but it's still not where we want it to be."

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