Follow the WDRB Newsroom, Reporters and Anchors.More >>
Tweets from the WDRB Newsroom, Reporters and Anchors.More >>
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Mayor Greg Fischer revealed plans for a city ordinance that would ban the sale of e-cigs and Hookah products to minors, Feb. 19.
Mike White owns Nicqua, a company that manufactures a vapor nicotine product that emits little-to-no tobacco or tar.
As e-cigs grow in popularity, White clearly marks his packaging for adults over 18 -- though he knows they're getting into younger hands.
"It happens, we're definitely not targeting minors. Our goal is to help current smokers get off tobacco, get away from combustion," White said.
Fischer's announcement is a six-year plan designed to change the culture in the largest city of one of the most unhealthy states in the nation.
"It's unbelievable that it's taken this long for them to put some type of legislation in place at the local level because there's nothing at the state of local level yet," White said.
The ban is part of the "Healthy Louisville 2020" report.
"It's a big plan, an inspired vision built on science and fueled by strategies and best practices that we know can work," Mayor Fischer said.
The 82 recommendations are designed as a blueprint to build a healthier Louisville in six years.
"It's a recommendation that really -- again -- is based on the best available evidence right now. It focuses on prevention, not just the providing of healthcare to people who are already sick or ill and looks at the health in all policies process," said Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, director of Metro Health & Wellness.
"We're moving to make systems and policy changes, which is very different than a one-time, one-issue-focused event. It's a board reaching plan. It can't be accomplished in just a couple of months. It may not be an event that makes everybody feel really good, but it's one of the things that's going to lead to sustainable change," Nesbitt said.
Leaders say the city's smoking and obesity rates are well above the national average and are a leading cause in the state's higher early death rates.
"I actually see it. I see students who have obesity problems in our schools," said JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens.
"We don't want our generation to be the generation that dies of health issues earlier than they should."
The city has partnered with Louisville schools and other stakeholders to implement the recommendations, focused in 13 areas.
That also includes cancer screening, chronic disease prevention, oral health and HIV prevention and screening.
White supports the smoking crackdown on minors, but worries if it's only a first step.
"That is a concern. I hope that they realize the good that e-cigs are doing for people and don't try to put us out in the cold with cigarette smokers or tax us to death," White said.
The city will be tracking its smoking, obesity, cancer and infant mortality rates to see if the campaign is working.