E-cigarettes: Police looking into potential drug abuse in Palm Beach County

Many in law enforcement are concerned

BOCA RATON, Fla. - They are marketed as a safe alternative to cigarettes. Local law enforcement has a warning about how electronic cigarettes are being used and abused.

Some believe E-cigarettes could be part of South Florida's next big drug problem. Go on YouTube and you will be able to find exactly what many in law enforcement are worried about.

"There's no telling how far this will go," said Lantana Police Officer Nelson Berrios, who is among those concerned about potential misuse of electronic cigarettes.

Some say E-cigarettes are a safer alternative to typical cigarettes. Berrios says that would only be true if the E-cigarette is used the way it was intended. "Parents might see it as a safe product where we don't know what they're going to be smoking out of it," he said. "This is going to become a growing trend."

How-to videos have recently surfaced online. Young people can be seen and heard instructing others how to use E-cigarettes to take drugs - such as marijuana.

Vapor Dog is a new e-cigarette specialty store in Boca Raton. Owner Brian Sugerman says he is only in the business in helping people quit smoking. "It's possible for anything to be misused," said Sugerman about the potential for merchandise misuse.

Sugerman does not sell to anyone under 18; even though there is currently nothing keeping him from doing just that. E-cigarettes are not currently regulated by the FDA.

"While we can't say it is a healthy product, it probably is healthier than smoking a cigarette," said Sugerman.

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