Starting today, if you’re a minor in the city of Howell and are observed engaged in vaping, you risk being cited by police for committing a misdemeanor offense. Vaping is inhaling the vapor produced by an e-cigarette or personal vaporizer.

E-cigarettes are portable battery-powered devices that vaporize e-liquid – a mix of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, water-based flavorings, and optional nicotine. The ordinance was passed at the request of the Howell Public Schools, where Supt. Erin Macgregor has said that cases of vaping on school grounds – which is against the district’s Code of Conduct - have increased in the last few years. Statistics indicate there are at least 10 million Americans who now vape, and more than two million of them no longer smoke cigarettes at all.

The huge increase in vaping has come in direct proportion to the decrease in smoking and has become particularly popular among adolescents. Despite claims that vaping is a gateway to smoking for teens, youth smoking rates have fallen even more rapidly than adult rates since the advent of vaping. Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor at Boston University, says that as vaping has become more popular among youths, it has displaced cigarette smoking. Most adult vapers are former or current smokers, some of whom are still trying to quit.

Those under the age of 18 who are caught by law enforcement authorities vaping in the city of Howell face a $50 fine for each violation, with the proceedings taking place in juvenile court. (TT)