Created: 11/27/2013 5:22 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
On the heels of a 4 On Your Side expose, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry has announced plans to send the city council a bill to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to kids under 18.
4 On Your Side followed a 16 year old APS student around town, buying e-cigarettes at store after store, without ever being asked to show some ID. And that’s legal! Thousands of kids do it and the mayor wants to put an end to it.
“We can do things at the city level a lost faster than they can do them at the federal level,” Berry said. “This is one of those pragmatic things where we can be agile and get our youth protected here.”
Risks of e-cigarette smoking include nicotine addiction and possible lung damage from contaminated fluids. The penalties would be a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail – the same as for selling tobacco products to kids under 18.
“I thought the story did a great job of going in depth,” Berry said. “I would anticipate that that story is going to help me as a mayor to get this legislation through the city council on a 9 to 0 vote. This is a no-brainer.”
Berry said he also anticipates the state legislature tackling the issue when lawmakers convene for their 2014 session in January. He said he plans to introduce the bill after the council’s next meeting, in which they will elect a council president for the coming year. Berry said he looks forward to working with that leader to pass the legislation.