By Rory Linnane – Wauwatosa Now
Dec. 10, 2014
Wauwatosa’s Community Development Committee voted down an ordinance Dec. 9 that would have banned the use of e-cigarettes in public places and workplaces, similar to the way tobacco smoking is banned.
Members of the committee said they did not think there was significant evidence that smoking e-cigarettes would have harmful secondhand effects. E-cigarettes are personal vaporizers that do not contain tobacco, but may contain some nicotine and other chemicals.
“This is a very restrictive, protective ordinance on our population that I’m just not sure we have the basis for,” Alderman Matt Stippich said.
The committee voted unanimously to put the ordinance on file, so it could be considered again in the future.
Wauwatosa Health Officer Nancy Kreuser, who proposed the ordinance, said e-cigarette smoke can have harmful secondhand effects, especially to people with asthma, impaired respiratory function and other medical conditions.
She was supported by Wauwatosa Nursing Supervisor Lori Nielsen, Sue Marten with the Tobacco-Free Coalition, and Emily White with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
“You want to be a community of choice, which also includes having a culture of health,” Nielsen said. “We are not looking at personally banning it, but we just don’t want people to use it in public where it’s already regulated for cigarettes.”
Several residents spoke in opposition to the ban, arguing that businesses should be able to decide individually whether to allow e-cigarettes.