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Vape Products, E-Cigs Now Illegal to Possess if Under 21 in Oxford

By Alyssa Schnugg
News editor
alyssa.schnugg@hottytoddy.com

It is now illegal for anyone under 21 to possess e-cigarettes and vaping devices, or for businesses to sell to people under 21, in the city of Oxford

On Tuesday, a public hearing and second reading were held during the Oxford Board of Aldermen meeting on the proposed ordinance amendment. After closing the public hearing, the board voted to approve the ordinance and waived the 30-day waiting period after finding there was a public health and safety issue, which means the new law went into effect immediately.

The ordinance makes it illegal for anyone under 21 to “possess any electronic smoking devices or any electronic smoking pods, cartridges or liquid refills within city limits.”

The law also states that no student can possess the same materials on any school campus. Currently, if a student possesses vaping products, the student would only face disciplinary actions from the school administration. The proposed ordinance would also allow school resource officers to issue a legal citation.

In December, the US Food and Drug Administration raised the minimum age to buy tobacco products like cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, and vaping products from 18 to 21.

The approved ordinance amendment also mandates that no business or individual shall sell, distribute, give or transfer electronic smoking devices to anyone under 21 years old.

The ordinance also addresses fines that can be given to those who violate the new law. A first offense for possessing electronic smoking devices or the products to fill them is $25. A second offense is $75 and the third offense is $100. Any violation is also a misdemeanor charge.

If a person under 18 years of age is found guilty of the violation, the court may order the minor to perform up to three hours of community service, in addition to any other punishment imposed by the court.

Any person who owns, manages, operates or otherwise controls any area or business, that sells the products to someone under 21 can be charged with a misdemeanor and given a fine not to exceed $100 for the first violation. A second offense within the same year is a fine not to exceed $250 and a third offense would be $500.

Taylor Thompson, owner of the Cloud 9 Vapor Store and Lounge, was the only person to speak at the hearing. While she was in agreement that store owners who sell nicotine dispensing products, like vapes, should be held responsible, she said the penalties for possessing vaping products for minors should not be more severe than cigarettes and encouraged the use of community service for minors. She offered to work with the city to come up with better solutions and laws that will not encourage people under 21 to return to smoking cigarettes.


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