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Smith County exploring indoor e-cig ban

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TYLER (KYTX) -- Smith County commissioners are considering banning so-called e-cigarettes and similar vapor-based smoking replacement products from county buildings.

Current county policy fails to address e-cigarettes, whose use has sky-rocketed in the past couple of years.

County workers told commissioners during their weekly meeting Tuesday that there have been complaints from county offices regarding an inability to prevent people from using the devices. One example provided was that of a juror who was smoking an e-cigarette and received instructions from a judge and bailiff to stop doing so.

County Judge Joel Baker voiced support for a potential expansion of the county's no smoking policy, citing a recent Centers for Disease Control study.

"The CDC came out with a study suggesting that the vapors can be absorbed through the skin and the eyes so it can affect those that are around you," Baker said.

That study appears to relate only to poisoning cases involving the raw vaping liquid.

Justin Campbell, a supporter of e-cigarettes and general manager at Tyler's Uptown Vapor Lounge, said a potential ban would be a bad move.

"A lot of the propaganda is fueled by big pharmaceutical and big tobacco losing revenue from people switching to a healthier alternative," he said. "You're forcing people who have quit smoking and who have chosen to switch to a healthier alternative into an environment they were getting away from."

The commissioners agreed to allow the county's legal department to draft a policy addendum for review at a future meeting.

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