E-cigarette shop owners react to Shasta County ban

Dec 3, 2014 7:37 PM by Charlene Cheng

E-cigarettes are often marketed as a safer alternative to harmful tobacco products, but Shasta County officials are saying that's simply not true.

"There's big concerns about the regulation and health effects of second hand vapor, or exhale of electronic cigarette. The exhale contains nicotine, and nicotine is a poison," said Dr. Andrew Deckert, the health officer for Shasta County.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to regulate e-cigarettes, banning them from all enclosed public spaces in the county.

The board says the measure is aimed at protecting public health, but Redding vape shop owner Jeff Hess says e-cigs shouldn't be regulated the same way as regular cigarettes.

"Vaping is absolutely different than smoking, and it's absolutely a safer alternative," he said.

Nevertheless, Hess and his wife Kari, who co-owns the store, are mostly on board with the ordinance.

"The only thing that we're asking for is an exemption for any shop that exclusively sells electronic cigarettes to be able to test our products," she said.

"It was the only way I'd buy one. To see if it was something I would actually use versus just spending money on something that wouldn't help me to quit," added customer Frank Peterson.

Peterson is just one of the thousands of customers that Hess says depends on their product.

"It's our goal to be able to able to offer the safer smoking alternative and to be able to help save lives, to help people have the alternative to smoking," he said.

But county health officials say there's just not enough research to back up e-cigs as a tool to quit smoking.

"The electronic cigarettes are not FDA approved for any use and they're not FDA approved for cessation of tobacco, because the science doesn't back that up at this point," Dr. Deckert said.

The ordinance will go into effect on January 15.


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