Charlotte County bans vaping at county property where children gather

Charlotte County leaders don’t want people vaping around kids, so they banned it in public places where children gather, including parks and government centers. A local high school student at the group he is with supports the county measure. Meanwhile, a regional vape business manager we spoke shared his skepticism of the new ordinance ban.

We looked at how the Board of County Commissioners of Charlotte County’s ban on public vaping near children can cost offenders, and why the county claims it’s necessary Tuesday.

“Kids are going to the bathrooms “Juuling” and vaping, and they know it’s not good for them,” said Tyler Chapin, a freshman at Charlotte High School. “But they’re going to still do it.”

Chapin and other students with Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) voiced their support for a newly-approved county ordinance that bans vaping near juveniles.

The ordinance bans vaping at county playgrounds, county parks county recreation centers and any other county property where children congregate. That’s regardless of whether it is inside a structure or outdoors. The county clarifies these public places all fall under county property — property owned, leased or operated by Charlotte County.

County leaders pointed to Florida’s 110 injuries and two deaths in the state last year related to e-cigarette or vape product usage as part of its reasoning to move forward with the ban.

“If I see them, I try to encourage them and tell them facts about what’s happening,” Chapin said.

The county says the ordinance will go into effect as soon as the Florida Department of State records it, which could take a few days. It’s up to Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office to enforce it. Violators face a $50 fine for their first offense, with fines increasing for each additional offense.

Bert Cannavelli is the regional manager of King of Vape, and he is ultimately skeptical of the ordinance passed in Charlotte County.

“The community sees it happen, and they just want to ban and regulate everything that’s in existence,” Cannavelli said.

Cannavelli says black market vape sales give legal vaping a bad reputation and believes the county’s ban goes beyond keeping the products away from minors.

“The majority of the population of those counties are seniors. So you use those centers?” Cannavelli posed the question. “Who uses those public parks? The majority seniors walking their dog.”

But many argue, it’s important to take proactive measures.

“Sometimes [people who vape] don’t always listen,” Chapin said.

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Reporter:Erika Jackson
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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