City of Forsyth considering change to tobacco ordinance, to include 'vaping'

Forsyth, Mo. -- A change to the city code in Forsyth is aimed at keeping kids from using e-cigarettes or 'vaping' products.

The idea to amend the ordinance came from the school resource officer in Forsyth because he noticed an increase in the number of teens using these kinds of products.

"Kids are moving away from the actual tobacco products to vape devices, e-cigarettes and the juices that go along with those products," Sgt. Steve Huggins said.

According to the American Lung Association, E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco products among youth. That group even calls it an "epidemic."

"I think [young people] believe that it's safer," Sgt. Huggins said.

However, many vaping products contain nicotine or other harmful juices and are believed to be a gateway to traditional smoking.

"Catching them early, educating them early, making them understand that good choices lead to good consequences," Sgt. Huggins said.

That's why city leaders have already given first round approval to adding vaping and e-cigarette products to the local tobacco ordinance, prohibiting people under 18 from using them.

"To educate them, let them know, these things are illegal too," Sgt. Huggins said.

Sgt. Huggins says it'll send a stronger message of safety.

"The decisions they make early on can form life-long habits that are hard to break," School Superintendent Dr. Jeff Mingus said.

Dr. Mingus agrees that educating students early can help them long-term.

"It's not just the core subjects anymore. We're talking about character, how to be successful members of society when they leave," Dr. Mingus said.

They say it's about helping students have a healthier future.

"These kids are growing up. They're going to be the leaders. They're going to our country," Sgt. Huggins said.

Forsyth leaders are expected to consider the final reading of this change at their next meeting.