McAllen bans e-cigarettes in public places - Brownsville Herald: News

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McAllen bans e-cigarettes in public places

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Posted: Tuesday, November 17, 2015 8:00 am

MCALLEN — City Commissioners increased restrictions on where smokers can enjoy their tobacco products last week by banning the use of e-cigarettes from any public place where smoking is currently prohibited.

The city law is effective immediately just as the new state law banning minors from buying electronic cigarettes takes effect this month. Starting Jan. 1, violators who use e-cigarettes where they’re banned will be issued a citation.

Commissioners voted to update the city’s smoking ordinance to include banning vaping, or the use of e-cigarettes, which state legislators defined as any device that uses a mechanical heating element, battery or electronic circuit to deliver nicotine or other substances to the person by inhaling from the e-cigarette.

City officials are encouraging businesses to update their signs to educate the public about the change. Signs have to display whether smoking is permitted and if there are designated areas.

Violators can be subjected to a $100 fine for their first violation. More violations within a year can result in fines ranging from $200 to $500, according to the city’s ordinance.

Commissioner Veronica Whitacre said she thinks since the public is accustomed to the current ordinance, they will adjust to the addition of banning vaping. This is the first time in about a year ago that commissioners considered adding vaping to the smoking ordinance, she said.

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