Callaway Becomes First Local City to Move ‘E-Cigs’ Behind Counters

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The city of Callaway is taking new measures to keep tobacco out of the hands of minors. 

On Tuesday night, commissioners unanimously approved a new law affecting electronic forms of cigarettes. 

The students working against tobacco, or SWAT, are on a journey to change.

“It’s the start of a new age in tobacco prevention,” Bonnie Steelman, the Bay ‘SWAT’ coordinator, said.

The group has been going to Callaway’s commission meetings and asking officials to change their tobacco product placement ordinance. After months of asking the commission to add electronic cigarettes into the policy, on Tuesday, the commission voted yes.

“What this does is it adds the electronic smoking devices, you know, those have become so pervasive they’re just everywhere, so they have to be in cases and things so kids can’t get to them easily,” Pamn Henderson, the city’s mayor, said.

Now, all forms of tobacco must be placed behind the sales counter in the city of Callaway.

“We’ll go into the stores, and give them the new policies, let them know what’s going on, and answer any questions they might have,” Steelman said.

She said moving the products will have an “out of sight out of mind'” effect on minors.

“If they don’t see it, they won’t think about it,” Steelman said.

Callaway is the first Bay County city with the new policy. 

“From Mexico Beach, to Panama City Beach to Panama City, to Lynn Haven, all of them. We’re not gonna stop until we reach all of them,” Steelman said.

Henderson said the city is considering how to punish those who don’t comply with the ordinance.

“It could be a progressive system that says the first time you get a warning, the next time you get a fine, and it could get more serious from there,” the mayor said.
 

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