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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.
Thanks to the efforts of Wisconsin and Minnesota advocates and CASAA, the Wauwatosa City Council has decided not to include vapor products in the City’s smoking ordinance at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation and alert Wisconsin residents if there is any further action taken.
Wauwatosa Health Officer Nancy Kreuser is urging the city to pass an ordinance that would prohibit smoking with electronic devices in public places, and also prohibit the sale of such devices to minors. The State of Wisconsin already prohibits the sale of nicotine products to minors, however, WSAC does not oppose also prohibiting the sale of devices to minors.
The Community Development Committee considered Kreuser’s proposed ordinance Nov. 25, and voted 3-3 on a recommendation to approve it. That meant it got introduced to the Common Council Dec. 2, but it will go back to the committee, likely December 9, 2014.
Location: City of Wauwatosa
7725 W. North Avenue
Wauwatosa, WI 53213
Where: Committee Room #1
When: Second and last Tuesday of each month
Time: 7:00 pm
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. (more…)