News Release

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Research by Local Teens Highlights Dangers of Vaping and Leads to Ordinance

May 24, 2024

Thanks to the efforts and research of a group of local teens, the Town of Hilton Head Island has taken steps to protect the health of its citizens with a new ordinance banning electronic smoking devices inside many commercial and public buildings.

With a 7-0 vote, the Town Council added electronic smoking, commonly known as “vaping,” to the existing smoking and tobacco-use restrictions. The municipal code, changed in 2009, prohibits smoking tobacco and tobacco-related products indoors in publicly accessible commercial businesses or other publicly accessible buildings.

“The new smoking ordinance has been a success since it was approved in 2009,” says Town Manager Marc Orlando. “But now cigarettes are just part of the problem, and it was time to change with the times. By adding vaping to the current restrictions, we are making a statement to the community, and especially the young people, that we don’t support tobacco use and don’t want it in places where it could affect other people’s health.”

The addition of electronic smoking devices to the code was spurred on by the research and efforts of the Teens for Healthy Youth, part of the larger Lowcountry Alliance for Healthy Youth. That is a group of young people in Hilton Head Island and Bluffton focused on the message of “Promoting Positive Teen Health.”

The group made a presentation to the Town Council in July of 2023 about the growing dangers connected to teens and vaping. In their research, the group’s data shows nicotine is found at much higher concentrations in e-cigarettes than normal cigarettes, and the toxic chemicals expelled by the vape pens can affect people nearby and live on surfaces long after the aerosol has dissipated.

“I was so impressed with their presentation back in 2023, as was the entire Town Council,” said Mayor Alan Perry. “These are young people concerned not just about their health, but the health of their friends, their family and our entire community. We are proud to support their efforts and are thrilled to see the next generation stepping up to make a difference.”

To review the Town's ordinance, visit

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Andrew Davis