UPDATE 4/6/20115: Consideration of this new zoning ordinance has been pushed back to the May 4th. See video (at 00:31:30): Watch Video
Under this proposed zoning, a new vape shop that sells smoke-free products would be unreasonably and unjustifiably prohibited from opening within 500 feet of a gas station, convenience store or tobacco shop that sells combustible tobacco products. This zoning essentially protects the sale of harmful products while restricting the greater availability of and easier access to safer alternatives! This action could easily have statewide consequences, so ALL Wisconsin vapers and vape shops who support smoke-free alternatives should take action NOW!
Please keep sending emails and calling the Commissioners (see contact info below) and expressing your opposition to this ordinance!
UPDATE 3/25/15: After several vapers and shops spoke at the March 23rd meeting, this ordinance was recessed until April 6th. (See video of March 23rd meeting here, starting at 01:38:00) NOTE: It was made clear that this ordinance would NOT impact existing businesses in their current location.
Two Commissioners, Eric Sunderquist and Melissa Berger, requested further information on exactly how the zoning would impact the ability for new vapor shops to open, as well as to hear from the Mayor’s office as to the merits or rationale of singling out vapor shops for this type of zoning. They semed open to opposing this zoning. Alderman Steve King, who is apparently no fan of vapor products, quickly attempted to change the dialog, insisting that the next public hearing stay closed, to avoid any more discussion on the health debate. He insisted that was all settled during the indoor ban hearings and any new discussion should be limited to land use issues.
In that light, it is imperative that vapers and store owners attempt to meet with and write the Commissioners (see contact list below) to express their opposition and insist that the City provide clear evidence supporting why e-cigarette sales should be treated in the same way as traditional cigarette sales AND why stand-alone shops selling vapor products should be treated differently than other retail stores and gas stations that sell vapor products.
3/23/2015: Madison is attempting to amend its tobacco zoning and licensing rules to include e-cigarette retailers. This was introduced by Mayor Soglin to the Common Council on March 3rd without debate and was referred to the Plan Commission. Based on a Google Maps search, this ordinance would severely limit new vape shops opening or expanding to new locations, based on their proximities to parks, churches, healthcare facilities, schools, playgrounds, daycare facilities, youth centers and other stores of any kind that sell tobacco! It would also impact the state’s wholesale companies, if other municipalities follow suit. (Note that existing shops ARE grandfathered and can remain open under these new zoning restrictions.)
It is imperative that ALL Madison and Wisconsin e-cigarette shops, wholesalers and consumers oppose this ordinance, as this will set a precedent that will be used in other cities around the state!
This matter is on on the Plan Commission agenda for April 6 at 5:30 PM at 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Room 201 (City-County Building)
Local tobacco retailer checks that make sure stores don’t sell tobacco products to minors are expanding to include e-cigarettes in 2015, according to the Five Counties for Tobacco-Free Living Coalition.
The change is being made through the statewide Wisconsin Wins program to address e-cigarettes’ rising popularity with teens. The 2014 Wisconsin Youth Tobacco Survey shows 7.9 percent of our state’s high school students currently use e-cigarettes. Nationally, in 2013, 4.5 percent of high school students reported currently using e-cigarettes.
The intent of retailer tobacco compliance checks is to keep tobacco and nicotine products, such as e-cigarettes, out of the hands of children. All tobacco retailers and e-cigarette businesses can be checked during scheduled tobacco compliance checks throughout Fond du Lac County.
An area of concern with e-cigarettes is that they typically come in candy and fruit flavors, making them especially appealing to young people….
It has just come to WSAC’s attention that the the City of Wisconsin Dells Legislative Committee has an e-cigarette ordinance on its agenda for this evening at 6:30 PM. The meeting is at the Municipal Building Council Chambers, 300 La Crosse Street, Wisconsin Dells.
The committee will be a discussion/decision on a proposed ordinance to create Code Sec. 16.29 “Regulating the use and sale of “electronic smoking devices.” The use of the term “electronic smoking devices” indicates this ordinance was likely written by a lobbyist for the American Lung Association, as this term has been widely used in other ordinances written by the anti-electronic cigarette organization.
The proposal is filled with wildly inaccurate and misleading statements about electronic cigarettes:
“Electronic smoking devices are currently unregulated and have been proven to emit nicotine, ultra-fine particles, volatile organic compounds and other toxins. Inhalation of nicotine is proven to be dangerous to everyone, especially children and pregnant women. Exposure to ultr-fine particles may exacerbate respiratory illness, such as asthma and may constrict arteries which could trigger a heart attack. The volatile organic compounds, such as formaldehyde and benzene, found in electronic smoking devices aerosols as well as conventional cigarettes smoke, are proven carcinogens.”
There is NO EVIDENCE that the vast majority of vapor products contain anything that pose a second-hand danger to children or pregnant women, exacerbate respiratory illness, constrict arteries or cause cancer.
Please see the WSAC CALL TO ACTION for contact information of the Common Council and PLAN TO ATTEND TO SPEAK!
The proposed ordinance prohibits the use of vapor devices in any place in the City where smoking of tobacco products is porhibited by law. It also bans sales to minors, which is redundant, as sales of nicotine products to minors is already prohibited by state law. Finally, it prohibits “self service” displays of vapor products.
Current city ordinance prohibits smoking per state law, but also includes outdoor smoking in the City’s 8 public parks and on the hiking trails. Last year, the Mayor proposed banning smoking in the City’s downtown. With this ordinance, the use of vapor products will also be prohibited in those places.
Please download, print and hand out the flyer below to fellow vapers and vape shops!
Please check back frequently for updates and join the Wisconsin Smoke-free Alternatives Coalition on Facebook!
The public is welcome (and strongly encouragd) to attend these meetings and address the lawmakers with their concerns and comments. Arrive early to sign up on the registration form to speak.
1) Email and call the mayor and other members of the City of Wisconsin Dells Legislative Committee and City Council (listed below) to explain why you oppose efforts to ban e-cigarettes wherever smoking is prohibited, and (2) attend any meetings and offer testimony in opposition to efforts to define smoke-free e-cigarette use as smoking (see Suggested Talking Points listed below.)
2) Contact local media (television station producers and newspaper editors) to tell your story and explain why this ordinance is bad for public health and actually encourages smokers to keep smoking.
3) Post comments on online news stories about this proposed ordinance telling your story and why you oppose the ordinance (see partial list below.)
4) For social networking users, the Twitter and Facebook accounts for the Common Council alders have also been included with their contact information. Let them know how you feel!
5) Share this blog post on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google +) and in any area vaping groups. Get your supportive family members and frioends to also share!
6) Contact all of your local vape shops and let them know that they need to fight this ordinance (no more vaping in their shop.) Retailers can contact their customers, make them aware of the proposed ordinance and get them to attend hearings.
7) Even if you do not wish to speak publicly, be sure to attend meetings and rallies as an audience member to show a strong, united front and to make clear to the media and lawmakers that such actions are hurting real people.
(See Massachusetts town snuffs out tobacco ban after outcry as an example of what a strong show of opposition can do, but please always remain calm and respectful. What ultimately changed changed minds in this case was the sheer numbers of people showing up, not the disruption of the proceedings.)
As a sign of respect, we request that you refrain from vaping during any meetings with lawmakers and/or media (unless requested), avoid the use of “vape slang” (ie. “juice”) and foul language, and act in an otherwise respectful manner.
DOCUMENTATION AND LINK
March 9, 2015 Legislative Committee Agenda (Includes new proposed agenda beginning on page 29):
SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS
1. You are a Wisconsin Dells-area or Wisconsin resident and you oppose banning e-cigarette use where smoking is prohibited. (If you are responding to this Call to Action and are not a state resident, please mention any connection you have to the area, for example, you travel to Madison on vacation or have friends/family in the area.)
2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette has changed your life. (Avoid using slang terms such as “juice.”)
3. Clarify that:
a. Smoking bans are ostensibly enacted to protect the public from the harm of secondhand smoke, but e-cigarettes have not been found to pose a risk to bystanders. In fact, all evidence to date shows that the low health risks associated with e-cigarettes are comparable to other smokeless nicotine products.
b. The low risks of e-cigarettes is supported by research done by Dr. Siegel of Boston University, Dr. Eissenberg of Virginia Commonwealth, Dr Maciej L Goniewicz of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Dr. Laugesen of Health New Zealand, Dr. Igor Burstyn of Drexel University, and by the fact that the FDA testing, in spite of its press statement, failed to find harmful levels of carcinogens or toxic levels of any chemical in the vapor.
c. A comprehensive review conducted by Dr. Igor Burstyn of Drexel University School of Public Health based on over 9,000 observations of e-cigarette liquid and vapor found “no apparent concern” for bystanders exposed to e-cigarette vapor, even under “worst case” assumptions about exposure.
d. Electronic cigarette use is easy to distinguish from actual smoking. Although some e-cigarettes resemble real cigarettes, many do not. It is easy to tell when someone lights a cigarette from the smell of smoke. E-cigarette vapor is practically odorless, and generally any detectable odor is not unpleasant and smells nothing like smoke. Additionally, e-cigarette users can decide whether to release any vapor (“discreet vaping”). With so little evidence of use, enforcing use bans on electronic cigarettes would be nearly impossible.
e. The ability to use electronic cigarettes in public spaces will actually improve public health by inspiring other smokers to switch and reduce their health risks by an estimated 99%.
f. Losing the ability to test e-liquids before purchasing will have a significant and negative impact on your ability to purchase/sell e-liquids.
g. Many smokers first try e-cigarettes because they can use them where they cannot smoke, however, they often become “accidental quitters.” This is a documented phenomenon unique to e-cigarettes. It may take a few months or only a few days, but they inevitably stop smoking conventional cigarettes. This is why including e-cigarettes in smoking bans could have serious unintended consequences!
h. By making e-cigarette users go outdoors, the City will also be sending a strong message to traditional smokers that e-cigarettes are no safer than smoking. This will actually maintain the number of smokers in Madison, rather than help reduce smoking. This is a far more realistic risk to public health than any unfounded concerns about possible youth or non-smoker use uptake.
In fact, the most recent report by the CDC showed that the dramatic increase in e-cigarette use over that past 3 years has not led to an increase in youth smoking. Youth smoking of traditional cigarttes continues to decline to record low levels.
i. The children of smoking parents are far more likely to become smokers than the children of non-smoking parents who see smoking behaviors in public. The children of smoking parents who quit aren’t any more likely to smoke than those of non-smoking parents. Prohibiting vapor products in public does little to protect the children of non-smoking parents from becoming smokers, but significantly increases the likelihood that many smoking parents won’t switch to e-cigarettes. This only serves to keep the highest-risk children at risk.
j. E-cigarette use does not promote the smoking of traditional cigarettes, nor does it threaten the gains of tobacco control over the past few decades. In fact, by normalizing e-cigarette use over traditional smoking, the efforts of tobacco control are being supported. If anything, e-cigarette usedenormalizes conventional smoking by setting the example of smokers choosing a far less harmful alternative to traditional smoking. The CDC surveys clearly show that there has been no “gateway effect” causing non-smokers to start smoking. As e-cigarettes have become more popular, all available evidence is showing that more and more smokers are quitting traditional cigarettes, including youth smokers.
k. Important Note: A typical and frequent lawmaker response to e-cigarette users who object to public use bans is “We aren’t banning all use or sales, just use where smoking is also prohibited.”
Don’t give them the opportunity to counter you in that way! Make it very clear that you understand that this is not a ban of e-cigarette sales or a ban of e-cigarette use where smoking is allowed, but that what IS proposed is still a step backward in public health, not a step forward.
Mayor Brian Landers
300 La Crosse Street
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
Office: 608-254-2012 x408
Alderman Mike Freel, Chair
411 Wisconsin Avenue
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
Alderman Ed Wojnicz
1407 Michigan Avenue
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
Alderman Ed Fox
1002 Washington Avenue
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
Other City Council Members
Alderman Jesse DeFosse
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
Alderman Dar Mor
23 Kansas Avenue
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
Comma delimited email list: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
By Adam Tobias | Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON, Wis. — Christian Berkey could almost feel his jaw hit the ground when, almost two years ago, he was speaking with a health commissioner in New York about electronic cigarettes.
Berkey, founder and CEO of Johnson Creek Enterprises, the second-largest producer of e-liquid in the world, couldn’t believe the public official thought users lit the electronic devices and inhaled smoke just like traditional cigarettes.
That conversation took place, Berkey says, just an hour before the commissioner was supposed to vote on guidelines for e-cigarettes.
“It scared the hell out of me,” Berkey told Wisconsin Reporter. “Unfortunately, that kind of thing is not an isolated incident. There are staggering numbers of legislators who are perfectly willing to vote on measures concerning electronic cigarettes, when, in fact, they know next to nothing about them.”
Because the e-cigarette industry is still relatively new, scientific evidence regarding human health effects is limited. But that hasn’t stopped government officials from passing more than 450 state and local laws restricting the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems.
Now one of Berkey’s worst fears, something he calls sheer irresponsible lunacy, has come to his home state.
In a recent guest column for The Courier, state legislator Joel Kleefisch (R-District 38) took fellow lawmaker Rep. Debra Kolste (D – District 44) to task for her campaign to include the use of vapor products in Wisconsin’s statewide smoking ban.
“The emergence of electronic vapor devices has been celebrated by consumers and the industry as a beneficial aid to helping tobacco smokers fight the urge,” wrote Kleefisch. “Vapor devices contain nicotine without the tar, old mattresses and rat poison contained in tobacco cigarettes and cigars. In the body, nicotine has virtually the same effects as when caffeine is consumed. While coffee shop openings are celebrated, the use of vapor devices often elicits the negative connotation of cigarette smoking. Evidence strongly suggests that vapor devices are less harmful and very effective in helping people who are looking for a better alternative.”
“Right in Lake Country, the electronic vapor device industry is booming at Johnson Creek Enterprises,” he wrote. “They have only been in business for six years, but have seen unbelievable growth in the popularity of their products among consumers who want the opportunity to use a legal product. Businesses like this have opened the door to a flourishing industry that’s mission is providing consumers a choice other than smoking tobacco products.”
“Fellow state legislator Rep. Debra Kolste of Janesville introduced legislation that would include electronic vapor devices in the Wisconsin indoor smoking ban. The usage and selling of these products by minors is already against the law and should stay illegal. It’s not governments job to tell people of the legal age that they are not allowed to partake in a legal activity,” the lawmaker pointed out.
“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is already taking steps to monitor the ingredients in electronic vapor devices,” Kleefisch continued. “Remember, if a bar, restaurant, business or homeowner wants to ban vapor devices in their place, they can. Just as with the concealed carry law, the owner has the ability to set their own policies on electronic vapor devices because it is a legal activity in Wisconsin that is not a part of the indoor smoking ban.”
“The nanny state needs to stop interfering in our daily lives,” argued Kleefisch. “It’s no longer a matter of whether there will be efforts for government to step in and start up the vapor patrols. Many municipalities are rushing to enact ordinances that would ban electronic vapor devices from their cities, towns and villages. The process to prohibit this legal activity is already happening and could create a fight very similar to the smoking ban.”
“When the right to choose where an adult of legal age enjoys a legal activity becomes infringed, our freedoms are taken away,” he explained. “I am willing to take a stand against the interference of government bureaucrats in this legal activity. As always, I am certain some places will decide they don’t want nicotine devices used in their establishments. Let’s leave it up to the consumer to decide whom they will patronize with their pocketbooks.”
Rep. Kleefisch has done his homework and discovered the truth about vapor products. He was a sponsor of AB 762, which sought to exempt vapor devices from inclusion in state smoking bans. Unfortunately, the bill failed to pass. (One reason given to supporters of the blll, by lawmakers who voted against it, was that there weren’t any attempts to include vapor products in smoking bans, so it was “unnecessary.”) Rep. Kleefisch is also the spouse of the current Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin, Rebecca Kleefisch. WSAC is hopeful that she is of the same mind as her husband and will convince Governor Walker that banning the use of vapor products anywhere by law is bad for the health of Wisconsin smokers and bad for Wisconsin.
Please sign the Wisconsin Smoke-free Alternatives Coaltion (WSAC) petition requesting Wisconsin lawmakers oppose any laws prohibiting the use oif vapor products at Change.org and don’t forget to sign up for a free membership at WSAC today!
Madison, Wsconsin — January 14, 2014
In a joint press release issued Monday, the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and American Lung Association credited the state’s cessation and prevention program and recent tax increases for lowering smoking rates among adults and youth, now at 18% and 10% respectively.
At the same time, the organizations expressed dismay at the increased use of e-cigarettes, which seem not to have any impact in slowing the declining smoking rates at all. In fact, the same Wisconsin survey that found record low teen smoking rates also found the rate of Wisconsin teens using e-cigarette is 75 percent higher than the national average. Some might argue that the products may have had a hand in the significant reduction of actual smoking.
“The tobacco industry is aggressively marketing e-cigarettes to teens and young adults,” said Dona Wininsky, with the American Lung Association in Wisconsin. “Bubble gum, candy apple and cotton candy are just some of the kid-friendly e-cigarette flavors. Obviously these products are being pushed on kids and are not just another way for adults to quit
smoking,” said Wininsky.
“The claim that only youth would find these flavors appealing is a bit disingenuous,” said Kristin Noll-Marsh, of the Wisconsin Smoke-free Alternatives Coalition, a statewide group that promotes tobacco harm reduction policies. “Vodka companies sell vodka flavors in bubble gum, root beer and birthday cake. Obviously, if adult vodka drinkers like those flavors, so would adult consumers of vapor products. Even nicotine gums and lozenges come in sweet flavors like cherry, fruit chill and orange, not tobacco and menthol. E-cigarettes are about getting away from smoking and for some smokers, that includes getting as far away from the flavor of cigarettes as possible.”
Noll-Marsh says she’s shocked that public health groups want to treat vapor products as an enemy, rather than as an ally. “It’s so obvious that as the number of people using vapor products rises, the number of those smoking is going down,” she said.
“It’s like reporting a significant decline in STDs in both adults and youth and in the next breath saying you are concerned about increased use of condoms by youth.” Noll-Marsh pointed out. “Of course we’d much prefer youth remain abstinent, but demonizing a product that is obviously doing more overall good than harm makes no sense.”
The 2015 Burden of Tobacco Report released Monday by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, shows Wisconsin is losing billions of dollars to tobacco-related health care costs and lost worker productivity. The report estimates smoking costs Wisconsin $4.6 billion annually; including $3 billion in health care costs and an additional $1.6 billion in lost productivity. Tobacco use is also responsible for nearly 7,000 deaths in Wisconsin and is the cause of 80 percent of all lung cancer deaths and 14 percent of all heart attacks in the state.
“The tobacco-related health care costs are something like 99.9% related to smoking alone. So, it’s more accurate to call it “smoking-related costs,” Noll-Marsh emphasized. “And this is after a statewide smoking ban, yet another tobacco tax increase and, ironically, an “F” rating for tobacco prevention from the very American Lung Association that says those efforts have somehow still worked to lower our smoking rates. Obviously, we need new tools and strategies to cut those costs and save lives.
Noll-Marsh says tobacco harm reductions policies – which support methods such as providing safer alternatives for high risk behaviors – is what is making the difference.
“WSAC takes a realistic approach,” she said. “Just as with safe sex, we can’t keep pretending that we can get all people to stop high-risk behaviors like smoking, so providing them with a viable alternative is the next best thing. And vapor products reduce those risks to such a low level, it’s nearly as good as having gotten them to quit altogether.”
For more information,contact:
Wisconsin Smoke-free Alternatives Coalition
(MADISON) – Rep. Debra Kolste (D-Janesville) is circulating legislation that would add vapor devices (being called “Electronic Smoking Devices (ESDs)” by the sponsor) to Wisconsin’s indoor smoking ban, Kolste, a Democrat, represents the 44th Assembly District, which mainly consists of the city of Janesville.
Sponsors are claiming that vapor products contain harmful levels of “toxins” found in traditional cigarettes, including higher levels of nickel and other toxic chemicals like lead and zinc. They claim research shows that these toxins are released into the air as secondhand e-cigarette “smoke,” although the levels at which they are found are highly unlikely to pose any health risks to the user, let alone to bystanders.
“Allowing the use of ESDs in establishments that fall under the state’s smoke-free laws undermines the very purpose of the smoking ban,” said Kolste. “The legislature passed the smoking ban to protect public safety, and allowing people to use e-cigarettes in smoke-free venues directly contradicts Wisconsin’s efforts to create healthier indoor environments for workers and patrons alike.”
The World Health Organization recommends that ESDs not be used indoors in order to minimize the risk of exposure to second-hand e-cigarette smoke. However, dozens of health experts have called the WHO to task for spreading disinformation about vapor products.
According to the press release, an analysis by the US Food and Drug Administration found that nearly one-third of adverse-event reports for ESDs are related to secondhand exposure. Although there are an estimated 2.5 million vapor product consumers in the U.S., there were only 33 complaints by non-users nationwide, which were not verified by the agency.
“It only makes sense to close this e-cigarette loophole and honor the intent behind Wisconsin’s indoor smoking ban,” Kolste said. “It’s time we extinguish the use of e-cigarettes in indoor establishments.”
“Actually, the purpose of state’s smoke-free laws is to protect the public specifically from smoke, not vapor. The ‘intent’ of the law was to protect people from actual harm. There is no such evidence that e-cigarette vapor is a hazard to the users, let alone to bystanders,” said Kristin Noll-Marsh, of the Wisconsin Smoke-free Alternatives Coalition (WSAC). WSAC is a loosely-formed, grassroots organization that works to assure the availability and affordability of smoke-free products, such as e-cigarettes, for adult smokers.
“Lawmakers are exaggerating the levels of chemicals that have been detected in some of the vapor products,” Noll-Marsh said. “Simply detecting a chemical does not mean that product is automatically harmful. If you look closely enough, you can find chemicals that are toxic at higher levels in everyday products we consider safe – like flouride and sodium. You have to prove that there is even something to be protected from before you try to ban it’s use in public. That has not been established at all.”
“This is an unscientific witch hunt, unapologetically lobbied by special interest groups that receive funding from companies that make competing products. By the time these groups are proven to be wrong -at least to their satisfaction – it will be too late. Millions of smokers across the country will be dead, because they believed this misinformation and just kept smoking.”
Noll-Marsh testified in Madison in early 2014 in support of Senator Glenn Grothman’s bill to exclude vapor products from the state’s smoking ban. She says she was told by several lawmakers at the time that there was no need for such a law, because no one was trying to prohibit public use.
“I told them [the laws] were coming and now they have. It makes no sense to ban the public use of products that contain less harmful chemicals than the typical indoor air at a restaurant and are reducing the smoke exposure to smokers and their families. More smokers using vapor products indoors means less smokers stand outside on the sidewalk. It’s also a great incentive to get smokers to switch,” Noll-Marsh noted.
WSAC plans to unite consumers and their families from all over the state to fight the ban, she says.
For more information,contact:
Wisconsin Smoke-free Alternatives Coalition
By Matthew Simon, email@example.com
Published On: Jan 06 2015 10:46:35 PM CST
“You don’t want someone putting something in the air next to you without your permission, without knowing what it is. It helps protect your personal health,” District 3 Alder Lauren Cnare, who sponsored the move, said.
The rule change applies to any public place where a cigarette cannot be smoked, such as a restaurant, shopping mall and workplaces.
Those attending the meeting in support of the move echoed Cnare’s point that not enough is known about what’s inside of the unregulated vapor.
“I don’t want to be at dinner and wondering what is in the aerosol in the e-cigarette next to us and if it could be harming our children,” mom Margarita Northrop said.
“Madison residents have come to expect going to restaurants and bars that have smoke-free air. This debate has nothing to do with individual use,” The American Cancer Society’s Sara Sahli said.
But that individual use, specifically how vaping has aided their ability to quit smoking, is at the heart of the issue for opponents….
Grothe, who operates e-cigarette stores in Oshkosh and Appleton, asked his employees to step outside the restaurant to “vape,” as the kids call it these days, rather than fill the restaurant with clouds of scented exhaust.
“Some people don’t care about anyone but themselves and will blow large clouds of vapor inside places,” Grothe said. “Do that at home if you want to, but not in a public place. We should be respectful of others, but not all people are respectful.”
The personal courtesy that Grothe and his employees showed could become a legal requirement in Winnebago County if public health officials get their way.
In the short term, Health Department Director Doug Gieryn wants the Winnebago County Board consider enacting ordinances that would restrict use of e-cigarettes in county buildings and vehicles. The longer term goal is a general ban on their use in bars, restaurants and other businesses and public places in much the same way the statewide smoking ban prohibits smoking.
December 10, 2014 3:16 pm • Cassandra Colson Reporter
Jackson City Chronicle
The city council last week discussed the proposed ordinance but opted to take no action and drop the issue unless it is raised again in the future.
Members of the Jackson County Tavern League appeared back before the council to express the group’s opposition to a ban in private establishments.
“I can’t even recall the last time I’ve even had (an e-cigarette) in our business,” said Jerel Gunning, who owns and operates Brockway-based restaurant and bar Re-Pete’s with wife Jen. “There’s enough of government telling us small business people what to do.
“I think you (the city) do have the right to decide what goes on in your own buildings, taxis – that type of thing.”
Alderperson Tony Chojnacki earlier this year raised the idea of adding e-cigarettes to the indoor smoking ban, saying he supported the electronic devices being treated the same as regular tobacco cigarettes in the local ordinance.
E-cigarettes, also referred to as vape pens, are battery-powered devices that simulate smoking by vaporizing a liquid solution and emitting aerosol that resembles smoke. Public health officials say the devices contain more than just water vapor and can contain nicotine and other harmful ingredients.
Tavern league members previously told the council they had a legal opinion that stated the law doesn’t allow local municipalities to include e-cigarettes in the indoor ban restrictions, which mimic the state law on the issue.
However, the city received a letter in November from the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium that said statutes would allow BRF to restrict e-cigarette use. City Attorney Dan Diehn agreed with the consortium’s opinion.
“It’s my opinion you can (enact an e-cigarette ordinance),” he told the council at its Dec. 2 meeting. “Obviously it’s up to you whether you think that’s a good idea or a bad idea.”
Jen Gunning, like Jerel, told the council last week that the tavern league doesn’t oppose restrictions in city-owned buildings or on city property. She also noted e-cigarettes are legal, while other illegal drug activity in the area should be a higher priority.