Proposed e-cig bill to be discussed Monday

Posted at: 01/05/2014 10:14 PM
Updated at: 01/05/2014 11:34 PM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Today, it is completely legal for your children to buy electronic cigarettes in New Mexico.

Your middle school or high school student can wan walk right up to the counter, buy an e-cig and puff away all night.

KOB’s 4 On Your Side team revealed that fact and the next day Albuquerque city leaders announced they want to change that.

A debate on the issue is expected as early as Monday.

In November, KOB first put the issue to the test.

KOB followed a 16-year-old APS student and watched as he bought electronic cigarettes in Albuquerque gas stations, convenience stores and hookah lounges.

4 On Your Side showed viewers how the liquid inside the e-cig cartridge is unregulated and has created health problems for some people.

”What we are doing simply is banning the sale of e-cigs to minors,” Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry said.

Berry took notice and the next day announced the city would try to change the law so that electronic cigarettes are treated the same as traditional smoking cigarettes.

“We think it's the pragmatic thing to do,” Berry said. “Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances on earth and we want to make sure our youth doesn't have access to it.”

Monday night, City Councilor Don Harris will champion the bill.

If his bill passes, Albuquerque would be the first city in our region to tighten control of e-cig sales.

"Most people realize that selling something that is highly addictive to minors is not a good idea,” said Harris.

If passed, the law would only apply within city limits, but Harris hopes the state legislature or even congress would see what the Duke City did and follow suit.

"Also what this bill does is it prevents people from transferring it,” Harris said. “You can't buy an e-cig as a 19 year old and then give them to your 17 year old.  That's also a violation of this ordinance."

A kid’s health is no laughing matter.

Many businesses have self-imposed their own rules about selling e-cigs to minors, but Berry and Harris say they want laws on the city’s books.

KOB will be at Monday’s meeting.