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Socorro bans e-cigarettes from public places

By: Stacey Welsh

 SOCORRO, Texas -- Socorro is the first city in El Paso County to ban electronic cigarettes, after the Socorro City Council approved the ban Thursday.


"[Electronic cigarettes] are not regulated by the federal government, so states and cities have to set their own regulations," Socorro Mayor Jesus Ruiz said.


The ban means e-cigarettes are not permitted in any public place within city limits. Socorro has had a ban with the same conditions in place for traditional cigarettes since 2006.


"They're kind of promoted as being a safe cigarette, but nicotine is nicotine. It's not really a safe cigarette. It kind of gives the message to our youth that they are safe, and they're not," Socorro resident Ralph Duran said.


The city expects the ban on e-cigarettes to promote public health.


"Unfortunately, with the e-cigarettes, there has been a trend across the nation where teenagers more than doubled their use of e-cigarettes every year. Unfortunately, that does lead to nicotine addiction. It can lead to other health problems as well," Ruiz said.


Major cities across the U.S. -- like San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York -- have also put restrictions on e-cigarettes in the past few months.


"I think a lot of cities need to take note of what's happening here and in those cities and follow suit," Duran said.


Ruiz expects to sign an ordinance on the ban Friday, and it will go into effect after that.