More Bay area places banning e-cigarettes

Julia Boyle enjoys an electronic cigarette at the Vapor Shark store on February 20, 2014 in Miami, Florida. As the popularity of E- cigarettes continue to grow, leading U.S. tobacco companies such as Altria Group Inc. the maker of Marlboro cigarettes are announcing plans to launch their own e-cigarettes as they start to pose a small but growing competitive threat to traditional smokes.
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Tampa, Florida -- For many people, like Alicia Diaz and Edward Kisthardt, e-cigarettes are a way to quit smoking.

"It's not dangerous to anybody, it's a lot healthier of an option for people," Alicia says.

But mother of three, Amy Parmer, says we don't know enough about them.

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"I think there's not enough research to tell the long-term effects and it's still nicotine. So it's not producing smoke, but it's a vapor and I just think it's not safe and it doesn't promote a healthy image," Parmer says.

It's a battle being played out right now with the FDA. Just last month, the agency proposed rules that call for regulations. But here in Tampa Bay, there's already a crackdown. Major organizations are starting to say no to e-cigarettes.

Moffitt Cancer Center is one of them. It changed the no smoking policy four months ago to include e-cigarettes.

Michele Talka, director of HR Operations at Moffitt, says the ban is in line with the mission and it cannot support the use of tobacco products.

"It's not a proven smoking cessation methodology, and as a result of that we're not gonna support it," Talka says.

Hillsborough County Schools also revised its policy a month ago to ban e-cigarettes.

Tany Arja says it was becoming a problem in schools because they're not easily detected and students think they can get away with it.

"They look like pens so they're not easily detectable. They don't look like cigarettes, so teachers are having to keep an eye out for this a little bit more," Arja says.

E-cigarettes are banned from buildings, campuses, sporting facilities and cars owned by the school board.

"Now that it's an actual policy, they're able to do a little bit more -- whether it's a suspension, removing it from the classroom, something like that," Arja says.

Parmer supports the ban in her children's schools.

"I think school campuses should promote health and for children, whether it be tobacco or not tobacco, I think an e-cigarette there can't be a gray area. They either need to ban them all, they can't pick and choose what they're going to ban," Arja says.

But Diaz says it's not second hand smoke and she should be allowed to use her e-cigarette wherever she wants.

It's a debate we'll see come to some kind of resolution in the coming weeks.

Below you will find a link to each Bay area schools' tobacco policies:

Hillsborough County

Pinellas County

Pasco County

Hernando County

Polk County

Hardee County

Sarasota County

Manatee County

DeSoto County

Citrus County