Lawmakers in Tulsa are looking to smother the vaping community with new restrictions relegating the use of e-cigarettes to the street.
The city already bans the use of vaping devices inside publicly owned buildings, however officials are looking to expand the regulations and increase penalties for offenders. City councilors plan to make it illegal to use an e-cigarette outdoors on any publicly held land and want to slap people in violation of the rule with a $100 fine, according to News On 6.
The new restrictions will ban the use of vaping in parks, outdoor recreational venues, golf courses, and even detention ponds. Vape shop owners in the community think the measure goes too far, virtually relegating the use of vaping devices to sidewalks and streets.
“There’s nothing harmful in the vaporization that’s blown out,” Addy McNeill, owner of Vapor Extreme, told News On 6. “I could be sitting next to you and if I blew an enormous cloud, you might go ‘wow, that’s a really big cloud.’ But there is absolutely nothing that you could inhale that would be anything harmful. Are you going to ban cell phones because they use the same type of batteries?”
City counselors plan to debate the new ordinance at a Wednesday meeting. Vape shop owners say they understand the need to protect public health, but note that their products typically appeal to smokers looking to cut back or quit. They argue that tying vaping together with smoking will ultimately dissuade smokers from trying e-cigarettes, and harm public health overall.
A growing body of medical evidence shows that vaping is a much safer alternative to smoking. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently acknowledged the health benefits of e-cigarettes, and is now encouraging smokers to transition to vaping to reduce their health risks.
Vapers that use an e-cigarette on a daily basis vastly strengthen their chances of quitting over those relying on the patches and gum approved by the FDA, according to a study released Aug. 16 by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the Rutgers School of Public Health.
The researchers found more than half of daily vapers quit smoking within the past five years. Only 28 percent of smokers that did not try a vaping device were successful in their efforts to quit.
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