More Businesses Across OKC Metro Banning E-Cigarette

Friday, October 18th 2013, 9:57 pm
By: News 9

More businesses across the metro are banning the popular electronic cigarette, while others still allow the vaporized smoke, but continue to ban cigarettes. It's a touchy issue on a device that remains completely unregulated.

10/18/2013 Related Story: Some Oklahoma Businesses Banning E-Cigarettes

The Food and Drug Administration is working on rules that would classify e-cigarettes as tobacco products so they can be regulated. But, some local businesses aren't taking any chances. They're creating their own rules.

The Warren Theatre in Moore banned e-cigarettes earlier this year. It believes the mist is distracting to other customers. Now, a number of other popular theatres in the area are jumping on board.

"A lot of those devices look very similar to cigarettes, and so it's confusing to other patrons," said Sarah Terry-Cobo, Reporter for The Journal Record. "They see it light up on the end, they see this vapor when people exhale. So it looks like smoke."

Sarah Terry-Cobo at The Journal Record has been looking into the issue that has businesses and patrons alike split. Since the e-cigarette is not regulated, there's little known about what's really in them, and it's long-term effects.

"People say, oh this is safe, this is vapor. This isn't smoke," said Terry-Cobo.

Terry-Cobo says Center for Disease Control labs have looked at a variety of e-cigarettes and flavorings as well as potential health impacts. But with no regulation, there's no across the board consistency.

"It would be easier from them to go ahead and call it a tobacco product, regulate it as such, and move into taxation, proper regulation," said Eric Attebery, Manager at OKC Vapes.

Attebery says he respects area businesses tightening their own policies on e-cigarettes.

"We don't want to be the people that are putting more harm out there and saying, no we're going to do what we want," said Attebery.

"I would respect it," said e-cigarette user, Robert Sanders. "I just don't like being an unnecessary burden, or cause of conflict."

There are also no state regulations on the e-cigarette. A law to tighten smoking in restaurants was written back in 2003 before the e-cigarette became popular.