BLACKSBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – To vape or not to vape in Blacksburg. A new proposal would prevent the sale of e-cigarettes within the town. Town officials say the goal is to prevent any drug exposure, but nothing is set in stone, just yet.
“It was identified that there is a real concern, amongst our youth, with vaping, with drug use,” said Blacksburg Town Councilman Dennis Stroupe.
Stroupe said the idea to ban vape sales came after a recent town hall meeting.
“The problem with vaping is it’s easy to hide drugs in a vape,” he said.
He said he is spearheading the ordinance to ban them.
“It isn’t criminal, but it is a mechanism for us to try and curb the use of vaping amongst our youth. It doesn’t mean they can’t go elsewhere and get it, but in the town, if we pass a second reading then they won’t be able to buy those vapes in town,” said Stroupe.
What that means is that the sale of vapes wouldn’t be allowed within Blacksburg town limits, even if you’re 21 or older.
“This ordinance doesn’t prevent you from possessing a vape, it just prevents you from purchasing one within the town limits,” he said.
Blacksburg Police Chief Jamie Ham said some drugs that can be put into vapes can be deadly.
“The most recent thing we’ve found is that we’re finding fentanyl, and, so it only takes a very small amount of fentanyl for a person to OD. We’ve had some ODs, overdoses, in our area,” said Chief Ham.
He says the town is doing what it can to help curb it.
“So, we’re going to step up and be one of the first municipalities to take action and prevent that from happening,” said Chief Ham.
According to Chief Ham, if the ordinance passes, officers will be checking to ensure that stores are complying.
“We will then go into the stores to see if they have vape products for sale, and if they have vape products for sale, they’ll be in violation of the ordinance,” he said.
Stroupe said, according to the ordinance, if you’re caught selling you will face a $250 fine and businesses will face a fine of $500. He said they have discussed the ordinance with the town administrator and attorney.
“We reviewed it and discussed the legal aspect of it. Ultimately, again, it’s not a criminal offense, we’re not making it a criminal offense, it’s more of a civil offense,” he said.
Their ultimate goal, he said, is to prevent the vapes from getting into the hands of their youth.
Chief Ham said if the ordinance passes, businesses that sell vapes will have around 30 days to get rid of them. Stroupe said town council is set to have their second reading and vote on April 8.