GAITHERSBURG, Md. — Gaithersburg vape shop manager Kelly Citrin says she doesn't sell to kids and vaping remains a safer alternative to cigarettes.
"That's how we started. And that's been our mission," Citrin said as she credited vaping with helping her quit cigarettes. "We've never promoted teen vaping, ever! We tell people if you don't vape now, and you don't smoke now, don't start."
Citrin is the manager of Vapor Worldwide.
A bill introduced in the Montgomery County Council Tuesday would ban vape shops from operating within a half mile of any middle school or high school.
If passed 19 of the county's 22 shops would be forced to quit selling vape products. "We are going to fight it," Citrin said. "Because we do believe we know that it saves lives." Citrin called the proposal misguided and misinformed.
She blames big tobacco's Altria, which is invested in Juul for promoting controversial product. She blames unbranded street and internet sales of unsafe vapor oils for the current crisis of illnesses and deaths now making headlines.
But county leaders like Councilmember Craig Rice says vaping needs to be severely limited.
"People are really starting to understand just how much of a concern, this should be for not only the parents of children, but also the general public who continue to vape," Rice said in a council meeting Tuesday.
The first public hearings on the Montgomery County vape ban are scheduled for the evening of Nov. 5.