Baytown proposes to restrict where you can use E-cigarettes


BAYTOWN, Texas – Zack Jones used to smoke 25 cigarettes a day, but since he started vaping e-cigarettes, he's down to just three a week.

"I tried to quit, a lot of times before when I was traveling and I couldn't do it by myself. I just think they are a great alternative to smoking regular cigarettes," Jones said.

Jones and his buddy Max are set to open Max & Zach's Vapor Shop in Baytown, the same city that's looking at restricting where you can use them and who can buy them.

Battery-powered electronic cigarettes are not regulated by the state or federal government. Baytown city leaders want to change that.

"In a nutshell, we want to treat e-cigarettes the same as cigarettes. That's the best way to describe it," said Baytown City Manager Bob Leiiper during a recent city council workshop, where the issue was being discussed.

City leaders don't want them being sold to minors and they don't believe e-cigarettes should be used in public places where smoking is prohibited.

Several north Texas cities have adopted restrictions, including Denuson, Frisco, Flower Mound, Lewisville and Highland Village.

Baytown residents we talked to would support such a measure.

"Because they can be detrimental to other people's health just like a regular cigarette," said Ruby Carrington.

Jones believes those fears are unfounded and misleading. While he agrees with some of what the council is considering, Jones emphatically believes users should have the right to choose where they want if the business owner allows it.

"You can't label it as a tobacco product because it's not tobacco. It's vapor," Jones said.

The proposed ordinance will be brought back to council on April 10 for further discussion.

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