County commissioner pushes for tighter regulations on e-cigarettes


NEW HANOVER COUNTY NC (WWAY) — The popular alternative to smoking will no longer be allowed at North Carolina public schools. A law now requires schools to have a sign banning e-cigarettes.

New Hanover County Commissioner Woody White wants to see if the county as a whole can take steps to limit the use of e-cigarettes.

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You may have seen people, especially teens are no longer lighting up and instead using the popular alternative to smoking – electronic cigarettes.

“The awful, predatory practices that that industry has intentionally made with our youth has really become a national epidemic,” White said. “If there is something that we can do about it to outlaw it or limit it, we’re going to do that.”

E-cigarettes, or vapes, are battery-operated devices that people use to inhale an aerosol, with nicotine and other chemicals.

It might seem like a harmless trend, but Dr. Brian Lanier at Promina Health says e-cigs are not necessarily risk-free.

“Nicotine causes changes in the brain that do cause patterns of dependence and addiction,” Lanier “These things have absolutely no business in the hands of children.”

Young or old, Lanier says e-cigs can be addictive.

“As far as I’m concerned, someone that uses one of these has all the risk factors as someone who smokes cigarettes.”

White says society needs to stop the trend at its root. In June he asked the county health director how much authority the county has to limit the use of e-cigs.

“I don’t think anybody’s going to be able to or should regulate what you do in the privacy of your own home,” White said. “But in public places and in access to young people, around young people, that’s really where we want to try to make some progress.”

White says he is still waiting to hear back from the health director on what options the county has.