E-cigarette smokers have another victory under their belt in Indiana. Delaware County commissioners unanimously approved a smoking ban that excludes electronic cigarettes after a sometimes heated public hearing in which bar owners, medical professionals and cancer survivors spoke out.
The ban, which was proposed by the Tobacco-Free Coalition of Delaware County, includes bars, taverns and any other public building not included in the restaurant-smoking ban of 2006 and will go into effect 30 days after publication.
During the weeks leading up to the hearing, the commissioners had received support as well as opposition from both residents and business owners of Delaware County and arguments from both sides where vehemently presented by citizens during the hour and 15 minutes of public debate that preceded the vote.
Originally, the smoking ban proposal drafted by the Tobacco-Free Coalition of Delaware County included electronic cigarettes, however, this section of the ordinance was removed last minute after a discussion between several commissioners and coalition leaders.
During talks, Cecilia Williams, the Tobacco-Free coalition leader stated that the FDA had not yet regulated electronic cigarettes, but county commissioners spoke out to say they doubted the risks. Furthermore, one official, Commissioner Donati, even asked what electronic cigarettes were before the board moved that they be exempted.
Although e-cigarettes had not been a point of contention during the debate, officials and citizens did not feel there were any substantiated health risks associated with the use of the electronic devices and the ordinance was modified accordingly. The e-cigs will be now allowed in places were tobacco smoking is not.
This is another significant victory for the e-cigarette industry, which in addition will serve to help educate the public on the use of the electronic devices. Tobacco products and electronic cigarettes should not be placed in the same category and, it seems that in Delaware County, Indiana, officials and residents agree.