Fort Worth

E-Cig Store Proximity to School Raises Parent Concerns

Store is legally allowed to operate but is adjacent to Paschal High School

Vaping, or the use of e-cigarettes, is a growing national trend. And with e-cigarette use on the rise, some parents are worried about a new vaping store opening up adjacent to Paschal High School in Fort Worth.

Artisan Vapor, which has a dozen stores across the area, isn't open just yet but when the sign went up this week so did concerns. The issue is how close it is to the school and how it might be seen as an available product to students.

"Being a mom and a non-smoker, I guess that's something I'm not really excited about," said Carmen Ayala, a parent and Fort Worth resident.

Ayala is not alone with her concerns, but not everyone agrees.

"I think if kids are going to do it they're going to do it," said Libby Dorsey, a parent and Fort Worth resident. "I have a five-year-old and I feel like as long as you teach your kids the right thing they'll do right by you."

Dorsey said she sees high school kids smoking behind the property she manages all the time and would prefer they smoke e-cigarettes than the real thing.

According to an annual University of Michigan study last year, e-cigarettes were more popular among high schoolers than tobacco products for the first time.

Michigan's Monitoring the Future study showed that 17-percent of 12th graders reported e-cigarette use last year, compared to 14-percent reporting tobacco cigarette use. To learn more about the study click here.

However you feel about tobacco or nicotine products, Artisan Vapor is completely legal in its operation at West Berry and Frazier.

Employees setting the store up said the company declined to comment, but did say the store will be 19 and up to enter so that high school students, even those of age, cannot come in and buy products.

"That's very positive, that's a good thing," Ayala said.

"See that's awesome, that covers all your bases," Dorsey said.

Artisan Vapor isn't the only smoking related store near the school. Fusion Hooka Lounge and Smoke Shop has been across the street on West Berry for nearly a decade. While not required to, it's policy prevents anyone under 18 from entering the store and employees scan the IDs of every customer to ensure legal age.

The store also says it won't let legal students in during school hours. Fusion says it passes every check done by officers conducting undercover tobacco buying stings.

Unlike alcohol sales, there is no minimum setback for tobacco or nicotine product sales from schools, churches or hospitals. Alcohol sales are prohibited in Fort Worth within 300 feet of schools or churches, unless an exemption is granted.

The City of Fort Worth considers the vaping store to be like any other retail store as long as their products are legal. Fort Worth ISD had no comment on the store, since it's legally there and there were no zoning issues.

State law does prohibit the outdoor advertising of tobacco products within 1,000 feet of a school. Both Fusion or Artisan Vapor is following that state law as there is no exterior tobacco advertising.

Both stores told NBC 5 that they are not after high school customers, but rather college customers down the street at Texas Christian University.

"I don't wish bad on them or anything, but I don't know if I'd want it around my children," Ayala said of e-cigarettes.

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