Thursday, April 17, 2014

Local Alert! Watauga, Texas has Banned Sale of E-Cigarettes.

The City of Watauga, Texas has banned sale of e-cigarettes, preferring for the residents of Watauga to have access only to traditional combustible cigarettes, which are estimated to be 99% more hazardous than e-cigarettes.  The City has made provision for local businesses currently selling e-cigarettes to apply for a two-year variance, which basically gives the City two years to close down all e-cigarette sales if it is so inclined.  In the meanwhile, sale of traditional combustible cigarettes remains completely legal.

The ordinance has passed, but CASAA is asking its members, particularly those in Texas, to contact the City Council to let them know how damaging this ordinance is, not only to the rights of adult vapers in Watauga, but also to the interests of public health, and ask that the City Council immediately rescind it.

Contact the Mayor and Members of the City Council: Please note that no email addresses have been provided by the City, and you must submit comments via the online forms provided.

Hector F. Garcia, Mayor (817) 514-5737   email

Mike Steel, City Council Member (817) 514-3607  email

Brandon Krausse, City Council Member (817) 514-3601  

James Wright, City Council Member (817) 514-3604   

Melva Clark, City Council Member (817) 514-3606   email

Patrick Shelbourne, City Council Member (817) 514-3602  

Robert Davis, City Council Member (817) 514-3603 

What to say: 

1.  You are a Watauga, Watauga-area, or Texas citizen and while you support banning sales of e-cigarettes to minors, you OPPOSE the City Council's actions in denying access to e-cigarettes to adult consumers.
2.  Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette has changed your life.

3.  Explain that banning e-cigarette sales would work a substantial hardship on consumers.
  • E-cigarette shops and lounges are more than simply stores. They provide an important resource for smokers looking to dramatically reduce their health risks by switching to e-cigarettes, a product that poses an estimated 99% less risk than smoking.   These stores offer knowledgeable employees and diverse products to allow adult smokers to make a successful transition from smoking to e-cigarette use.
  • Convenience stores, gas stations and other general retail outlets that offer e-cigarettes are where many smokers first learn about low-risk e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking.
  • Banning sales in these venues, especially while allowing sale of traditional combustible cigarettes to continue within the city, works against the interests of public health and denies consumers the right to purchase products that are estimated to be 99% less harmful than smoking.
  • Providing a two-year variance for existing businesses is not a sufficient protection for businesses or the consumers they serve.  No business can effectively operate under threat of being closed by the local government in two years.  And if any existing shops close, no new shops will be permitted to open, effectively reducing consumer access to these life-saving products.
  • Sale of traditional cigarettes, products which are known to cause a whole host of very serious health problems, remains legal.   It is an affront to genuine public health to in any way restrict adult access to low-risk, smoke-free e-cigarettes while the sale of traditional cigarettes, estimated to be 99% more hazardous than e-cigarettes, are not so limited.  
4.   Rather than denying adults access to low-risk, smoke-free e-cigarettes, sales to minors should be prohibited, and then those laws should be enforced to keep these products from minors.  

5.  Given the low risk of e-cigarette use, there is no justification for banning the sale of e-cigarettes to adults. 
  • The low risks of e-cigarettes is supported by research done by Dr. Siegel of Boston University, Dr. Eissenberg of Virginia Commonwealth, Dr Maciej L Goniewicz of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Dr. Laugesen of Health New Zealand, Dr. Igor Burstyn of Drexel University, and by the fact that the 2009 FDA testing, in spite of its press statement, failed to find harmful levels of carcinogens or toxic levels of any chemical in the vapor.
  • comprehensive review by Dr. Igor Burstyn of Drexel University School of Public Health based on over 9,000 observations of e-cigarette liquid and vapor found "no apparent concern" for bystanders exposed to e-cigarette vapor, even under "worst case" assumptions about exposure.    
6. Tell them that by switching to a smokeless product, you have greatly reduced your health risks.

7. Direct them to the website, as well as the CASAA Research Library, for more information.


Rory Lackey said...

FDA Banned Ecigs In the USA. But Vape Companies sued the FDA in Federal Court and won. Allowing Ecigs to be sold in the USA. This Ordinance Is not legal. So the City Needs to be sued. I will donate money for the cause if a lawsuit is filed

Boyscout said...

I wrote the Mayor and received his response within a matter of hours. Here it is:

Mr. Little, I just finished reading your email about e-cigarettes and I would like to thank you for communicating with us, here in Watauga. As a Council, we have studied the whole spectrum about this and we have questioned many people about this and most people we questioned were basically of the same opinion you have. I personally have visited some vapor shops and I was pleasantly surprised to find the shops very clean. More specially the mixing room where they store the paraphernalia to make the e-cigarettes. Reminded me of a hospital and the room was restricted to certain personnel only, assigned by the owners. As agreed by the City Council, the ordinance was written to restrict the sale of e-cigarettes to minors (18 years or younger) only. Somehow there was a small paragraph added to the ordinance to give the shops two years to close the vapor shops and our Public Works Director was trying to inform some shops about this. The owners called City Hall and the City Manager contacted the council to see if this was what we had agreed to on the ordinance. None of the Council was aware of this paragraph, so this past Monday, we amended the ordinance to rescind that paragraph about closing the shops. We have 5 vapor shops in our city and most of them already restrict the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and we don’t have to worry about these shops. There is a store (not vapor shop) that sells e-cigs near our middle school and does not have any signs to restrict the sale of e-cags to minors and this store worries me. The thing is, we are trying to keep our children from learning to smoke at all. Once they start, it’s hard to break that habit, whether the taste is like candy or fruit or whatever. I understand about the adults that are smokers that are trying to quit, I went through that myself when I left the military service. It took me a year and a half to quit, however; we as a council understand that we should not restrict any business from doing business in our city, after all, this is America. We do, however; have the right to protect our children, after all, they are our future. Our shop owners are very friendly and very responsible and we treat them like family. If they have something to say, we listen. We appreciate your cares and concerns about our city and the right of businesses and more specially our rights as Americans. Best regards and may all your travels be in peace. Mayor Hector F. Garcia, City of Watauga, Texas.

Jonathan Grose said...

I received this reply to my email today:


Thank you for your concern. The ordinance has since been rectified. It was never the intent to ban all sales.

Thank you

Mike Steele
817 874 4019
City Council

Sassquatch said...

"99% more hazardous than e-cigarettes..."

I'm being really pedantic here, but you're basically saying e-cigarettes are about half as hazardous as regular cigarettes - when really they're 1% as hazardous. Don't sell yourselves short here!

Ah, who am I kidding, the people we're trying to convince are as innumerate as they are reflexively puritanical.

Anonymous said...

Mayor apparently kept his word, Sassquatch, so apparently they were convinced.