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Hillsborough could become 1st county in Florida to adopt vaping age restrictions

The urgency comes on the heels of statistics showing an alarming increase in teen vaping.

TAMPA, Fla. — Hillsborough County could be among the first local governments in Florida to adopt stricter rules when it comes to young people vaping.

There’s no question, at this point, say Hillsborough County Commissioner’s, that vaping is creating health issues -- especially among young users where the numbers are skyrocketing.

Hillsborough Commissioner Sandy Murman got support from the rest of the board Thursday.

They directed the county’s legal staff to consult with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and brainstorm about what they can and can’t do – including, perhaps, limits on flavored products and maybe even age restrictions.

“Direct the county attorney’s office to research and bring back to the board for consideration and ordinance imposing more restrictive regulations on vaping devices used by those under 21 years of age,” Murman suggested.

The urgency comes on the heels of recent statistics gathered by Hillsborough County schools that show the numbers increase at an alarming rate when it comes number of young people, even under 18, vaping.

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The Hillsborough County school board recently worked with the Hillsborough sheriff’s office to produce a public service announcement talking about the dangers of vaping and how seriously they take it.

Using or possessing e-cigarette products is already prohibited on Hillsborough County school campuses.

“I mean, there’s alcohol cut off at 21 for a certain reason. Why shouldn’t it be for certain tobacco products as well? Especially vaping. Vaping could be even more dangerous,” said Aaron Umbowers, who operates a shop that sells vaping products in Ybor City.

Students get a citation for their first offense, requiring them to show up in court and perform community service.

The use of such products has already shown physical consequences as well as long-term psychological problems affecting cognitive thought and memory.

The use of nicotine products has already shown physical consequences as well as long-term psychological issues affecting cognitive thought and memory, experts said.

Murman said the state legislature usually makes it difficult for local government to pass local laws when it comes to smoking, but they left the door open when it comes to vaping.

It’s an opportunity, she says, the county should take advantage of.

“Let’s do something to help protect our children,” she said. “Make it safe.”

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