Wallingford council members consider raising minimum age for tobacco and e-cigs

WALLINGFORD - The town is looking to battle what health officials are calling an epidemic - teen smoking e-cigarettes.

The town is considering of raising the minimum age to buy tobacco and vaping products.

Council members held an ordinance meeting Thursday night to further the conversation and invited the public to offer their thoughts.

The topic was first brought to the table in November and since then, it has been up for debate.

“Becoming addicted to a substance like Nicotine can have an adverse impact on the final formation of the brain,” said Council Chairman Vincent Cervoni.

Members of various agencies addresses council members to express their stance on the proposal. Police Chief William Wright said he supports it.

“From a public health point of view for the health of this community and our children here, I am in full support of it,” said Chief Wright.

Meanwhile, Martin Pazzani, the co-owner of Silver City Vapors in Wallingford brought a Juul pod and a Mod to clarify the difference. Pazzani said a Juul contains 15 to 20 times more nicotine than a mod and he emphasized he does not sell Juuls in his store nor does he endorse it. In fact, he said the mods he sells are meant for adults to eventually quit smoking.

The issue is this Juul, not vaping” said Pazzani. Regardless, Pazzani said he does not even get customers under 21 years old.

“We kind of anticipated when we got into this at some point there was going to be an age 21 thing. We figured it would run the course with the way this industry has gone and we’re fine with it,” added Pazzani. Ken Welch with the Coalition for Better Wallingford argued mods are just as bad since they still contain nicotine.

He believed if the proposal is passed, the ordinance would be ineffective because teens would still find a way to get their hands on the product.

“We’re killing kids ultimately long term. You know, fifth graders are using this stuff. The research is very clear on nicotine. Once you get addicted, you change the brain chemical,” said Welch.

The next ordinance meeting is set to take place February 5th where council members should have a drafted resolution. There is no word yet on when an actual vote will take place.

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