Little Chute and Kimberly ban electronic vaping for minors

L-R, An electronic cigarette (e-cig or e-cigarette), personal vaporizer (PV), or electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS.) (Photo courtesy of Fox Valley Metro Police Department)

APPLETON (WLUK) -- It is now illegal for individuals under the age of 18 to possess electronic vaping devices in Little Chute and Kimberly.

The amendments to the existing tobacco ordinance, which went into effect January 1, include those which do not contain nicotine.

Prohibited devices include electronic cigarettes, electronic vaping devices, personal vaporizers, digital vapor devices, electronic nicotine delivery systems, and any similar or digital device.

With electronic cigarettes and vapes, there's no telling what form it can take.

"We had students charging their device in their laptop in the classroom and teachers weren't aware either," explained Duane Dissen, the Kimberly School resource officer.

Dissen said it's hard to determine what's inside the electronic vaping devices.

He said in one case, they "found kids were smoking marijuana, oils and wax's via vape devices."

The new ban eliminates that uncertainty. Under the vaping ordinance, minors can’t have possession or purchase electronic cigarettes. However, stores like 'Evapor of Appleton' don’t allow anyone under 18 inside.

  • Click here to test your knowledge e-cigarette use among youth and young adults

"We try to do anything we can to sell it to only people 18 and above, nicotine, or no nicotine, don't matter," said Ken Kempen, the co-owner of Evapor.

Health experts say even non-nicotine items are harmful.

"The flavors themselves can contain chemicals that can do damage to lungs, even if it doesn't have nicotine," said Gary Kirk, with the state's Department of Health Services.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, just under 8% of Wisconsin high school students were using e-cigarettes in 2014. That number has skyrocketed to 20% (or one out of every five students) in 2018.

U.S. health officials say teenage use of e-cigarettes has reached "epidemic" levels. But not everyone agrees.

"I feel like they're using that to scare a lot of potential smokers that are going to convert to vaping," said Kempen.

With the negativity that surrounds e-cigs, Kempen said it could cost hundreds of lives.

"Our purpose when we opened, was to convert smokers to vaping to help them quit smoking," said Kempen. "That was the main goal and I think that's the main goal of, I’d say 95% of vape stores."

But officers say many lives could also be saved through enforcing and educating the health affects e-cigs have.

"I think both are bad for you," said Dissen, "I don’t want students thinking this is better than smoking and it's okay."


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