Greenwood to ban e-cigs, other cities may follow

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) – E-cigs are now part of Greenwood’s smoking ban. The ban could be the beginning of a trend that other cities follow. Plainfield and Carmel said they’re looking into the issue. Indianapolis and the rest of Marion County already have a similar ordinance in place. The Indiana Attorney General would like to include e-cigarettes in its statewide smoking ban. However, cities like Franklin, Zionsville, Noblesville, and Brownsburg said it’s not even a topic of discussion, yet.

24-Hour News 8’s news partners at the Daily Journal report city councilors voted Monday night to include electronic cigarettes, or vaping, in their current smoking ban. That means no smoking in businesses or 25 feet in front of their entrances. It also includes restaurants and their outdoor seating areas, and city property, like parks.

It may look like smoke, but it’s not. That’s the point Sir Vapes-A-Lot store owner Random Andrews is trying to get across.

“To someone who is uneducated, they see something that is cloudy and then they automatically assume that it’s some related,” said Andrews.

Those for vaping argue it contains fewer harmful chemicals than regular cigarettes. They believe e-cigs have helped smokers kick the habit. Andrews would like those against vapor cigarettes to consider the differences between cigarettes and e-cigs.

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“This isn’t emitting a smoke. This is emitting a water vapor. So it’s, to me, two totally different leagues,” said Andrews.

Andrews was at Monday’s night’s Greenwood City Council meeting where members voted 6-2 in favor of the ban.

“With them grouping this in to tobacco, is giving a negative message for this whole industry and that’s the furthest, we are trying to separate ourselves from big tobacco,” said Andrews.

But those who support the ban are concerned about the chemicals others would breath second hand. They’re also concerned about the influence on children and teens. In a statement, Indiana’s Attorney General Greg Zoeller said:

The use of e-cigarettes in public sends the wrong signal, especially to teens, and could lead to a whole new generation of nicotine addicts. I’m glad to see local cities and towns taking the lead and addressing these risks, and adopting their own policies to protect our youth as they did years before Indiana had its statewide smoking ban.”

The ban goes into effect next week. This is the latest regulation on e-cigarettes. A new state law takes effect on July 1. Starting then, anyone under 18 will not be able to purchase the electronic cigarette products in the state including the liquid cartridges.

The new rules on electronic cigarettes in Greenwood will impact summer events, like concerts in city parks and Greenwood’s Freedom Festival.

Greenwood does allow smoking tobacco cigarettes as well as e-cigs in some of its bars.