But Mt. Vernon could soon become famous — or infamous — for something other than being a perfect example of Small Town, USA.
Hundreds of cities (and six states) have?adopted Tobacco 21 laws?in recent years. The laws typically restrict the sales of cigarettes — and usually smokeless tobacco and vaping products too — to those 21 and older. But no other city has passed a law that encourages 18-year-olds to choose combustible tobacco over vaping.
But that’s not what Mt. Vernon health officials think. According to Knox County Health Commissioner Julie Miller, using nicotine can kill you — which simply isn’t true. She told the city council all about it Monday evening at the second reading of the Vapor 21 ordinance.
One of those experts is certified tobacco treatment specialist Mike Whitaker. When Mayor Richard Mavis explained his intention to include vaping in the city’s smoking laws during an August council meeting, he cited Whitaker as a source of information. Whitaker is a Knox County Health Department employee.
Whitaker says flavored e-liquid is clearly aimed at enticing teens to vape. “Who else would that be designed for?” Whitaker asked, according to KnoxPages. “It’s more for the youth. So it’s very much a concern. And studies are showing that as they become older, then they kind of switch to cigarettes, which kind of starts the whole cycle all over again.”
The news shocked James Jarvis, owner of several?Vapor Station?shops and president of the?Ohio Vapor Trade Association?(OHVTA). Jarvis is mobilizing the association to fight back, if necessary. One of the two Mt. Vernon vape shops,?Rock Vapor Scissors, is an OHVTA member.
“So in other words, an 18-year old can go out and buy a pack of Marlboro’s, which we know gives him cancer, but he can’t go out and buy vaping products?” council member Chris Menapace asked, according to the Oneida Dispatch.