City of Vero Beach, Florida Passes Ordinance to Restrict Youth Access to Electronic Cigarettes
November 19, 2013

On November 19, 2013 the City Council of Vero Beach, Florida voted unanimously to pass an ordinance to reduce youth access to electronic cigarettes.

The recently passed ordinance prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes to minors under the age of 18, and places the products behind the counter requiring retailer-assisted sales. The new rules match a similar ordinance passed by the Indian River County Commission on October 22, 2013.

Vero Beach City Council
Back Row: Councilmember Pilar Turner, Councilmember Amelia Graves, Mayor Dick Winger
Front Row: Councilmember Craig Fletcher, Vice Mayor Jay Kramer

Mayor Dick Winger reminded everyone upon opening public comment that "the idea... of the ordinance is to prevent the sale of these devices to those who are under 18 years of age. That is the intent of it."

During the commissioners' discussion leading up to the vote, Councilmember Pilar Turner spoke very passionately about the ordinance. "Obviously, this has been a great educational effort for me, and I think for most of the council, that we really were not aware of this electronic cigarette. In the past two months, the things I've learned, its absolutely frightening. If anybody hasn't seen the Wall Street Journal ad in talking about the hazards of these electronic cigarettes, and the incredible growth in the use of these electronic cigarettes among our youth... The cigarette companies are just switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes to addict our youth."

Councilmember Craig Fletcher, who moved the ordinance, felt that the time to act was now. "I'm in favor of this. We've been working to get this done for about a year now, and its about time we do it.

Councilmember Pilar added "I certainly am in favor of this, and hoping it will send a signal to Tallahassee, and to D.C., and that we will get some regulation across the board."

The action taken by the City of Vero Beach to regulate electronic cigarettes illustrates the growing public health concern around these products. This action demonstrates local governments taking measures to protect its youth from nicotine addiction and to de-normalize the act of smoking, whether by traditional or electronic means. Vero Beach has joined a growing list of cities and counties that have passed age restrictions in the absence of federal or state law regulating the sale and marketing of these electronic nicotine delivery devices.

Recently, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that electronic cigarette use among has doubled nationally in the last year, making health officials concerned. The CDC stated that 4.7% of high school students had used an electronic cigarette in 2011 and that number rose to 10% in 2012.

This has also led to an increase in use of these drug delivery devices by teenagers on school campuses, as discussed in this article in the Washington Post, published on November 14, 2013.

More information on electronic cigarettes is available in this article, published in the Wall Street Journal on November 10, 2013.

You can watch the entire discussion regarding by the Vero Beach City Council on their e-cigarette ordinance here:

Vero Beach City Council passes E-Cigarette Ordinance, November 19, 2013