Attorney General OKs DeSoto County’s e-cigarette ban

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SOUTHAVEN, Miss. -- Southaven’s VaporWize has a steady flow of customers.

Most, including Andy Moore, want to give up cigarettes and improve their health.

”I enjoy it. I feel better, I breathe better, I’m tasting food now," Moore said.

But the vapors these e-cigarettes produce aren’t getting much love from businesses and local governments that treat them like cigarettes.

That’s why DeSoto supervisors want to ban e-cigarettes in county buildings, the same way they do tobacco products.

”We’re concerned with our citizens that come to the administration building and we just want to make sure they’re comfortable and they understand the rules,” Board of Supervisors President Lee Caldwell said.

The board took action, but put off enforcement pending an Attorney General’s opinion.

Jim Hood recently sided with supervisors and gave his blessing.

What gives supervisors the authority to ban e-cigarettes? It’s not Mississippi clean air laws, which define smoking as an "ignited tobacco product." Rather, it’s the board’s authority over "home rule,” which covers a broad range of issues.

And supervisors say tobacco or not, not everybody wants to smell e-cigarette vapors.

”Ultimately, I think the Attorney General kinda sees it the way we do, smoking is smoking,” said Caldwell.

But people who vape disagree.

”They’re just jumping on a bandwagon, saying, ‘OK, it’s bad for you, it’s just like cigarettes,’ and it’s not,” Moore said.

Either way, Moore says he’ll put away the e-cig when he’s doing business with DeSoto County.