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Hillsborough County leaders vote unanimously to raise vaping age limit to 21

Posted at 4:25 PM, Nov 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-07 05:46:13-05

TAMPA, Fla. --- The Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners unanimously passed a new ordinance to raise the age limit to 21 for buying vaping products.

The ordinance, which passed 7-0, also included restrictions for citizens using the products in certain areas like parks, recreational centers and anywhere children may be. The ordinance is expected to take effect in under a month.

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The new ordinance is a win for parents, local law enforcement, Hillsborough County schools plus other advocacy groups pushing for the new age limit.

“We are finding young people are not smoking and then using vaping as a way of stop smoking, they are vaping and that’s how they are starting,” Ellen Snelling, a concerned parent.

The ordinance cites the Center for Disease Control (CDC) saying it has characterized the use of vaping devices and products as an epidemic among the nation’s youth.

In the document, it says the CDC has also determined that the ingestion of substances, oils and other chemicals has been linked to lung injuries among users.

However, during public comments, the American Heart Association (AHA) says it was not in support of the ordinance because it did not include all tobacco products like cigarettes, cigars, etc.

“Tobacco kills more Americans than aids, cocaine, heroin, alcohol, car accidents and suicide combined,” said Jerry Saavedra, with the AHA.

ABC Action News reached out to vape shop owners in Tampa.

Vape Unlimited tells us they are in support of the ordinance. They say they don’t expect the ordinance to impact their business besides changing signage.

“Ninety-percent of our customers probably are over the age of 25,” said Sean Allen, manager of Vape Unlimited.

Allen also said they ID everyone that comes through the door before questions are answered. However, the concern with the ordinance for Allen is anyone between ages 18-21 will still be able to purchase traditional tobacco.

“You can still be 18-years-old to go to your neighborhood 7-Eleven and buy tobacco cigarettes, cigarillos — that’s an issue,” Allen said.

Hillsborough County leaders also passed a motion to create a group to advocate for state-wide changes when it comes to using vape products.