No easy access for e-cigarettes in Callaway

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - "If you get hooked on it young, you get hooked for life," said Callaway Mayor Pamn Henderson, in reference to kids using tobacco products.

In June, members of the group Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT), brought up the accessibility of tobacco products, specifically e-cigarettes.

"They can't just be accessible, they can't be. They call it self-serve, you can't just walk up and pick something up and check it out," said Mayor Henderson.

Tuesday, Callaway commissioners amended the city's tobacco placement law.

Now, e-cigarettes can no longer be in front of a store's cash register and must be kept out of arm's reach, all in the hopes of stopping kids using the electronic devices.

"When products are placed at the level, eye levels of youth, and things like that, it can influence their future decisions on whether or not they use those products," said Heather Kretzer with the Florida Department of Health in Bay County.

Having these products at eye level isn't the only thing influencing young kids into trying something harmful.

"Youth may enjoy you know fruit flavors and candy flavors and they have very colorful packaging," said Kretzer.

Mayor Henderson says Callaway wants to hold its retailers responsible.

"If somebody violates these, you know, actually sells either tobacco or alcohol products to children under the age, that we could bring a nuisance abatement against them," said Mayor Henderson.

This is a matter Callaway says it's taking seriously.

"You get a warning, the second time you get a fine and, you know, it could get more serious from there," said Mayor Henderson.

The city is still going over what exactly the repercussions would be for businesses that violate the law, but most importantly they're concerned with the health of local kids.