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Beaver Dam Common Council passes vape ban

September 18, 2018

The Beaver Dam Common Council approved changes to the city’s smoking ordinance on Monday night to make vaping in public spaces, including bars and restaurants, illegal.

Smoking cigarettes in such places has been banned statewide for a few years. The new language will also prohibit the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (and similar vaporizing devices, even if nicotine is not being inhaled by the user) such as a vape or an e-cig in other locations like elevators, reception rooms, hallways and any other space defined as a “public place” where the public is invited. They will also not be allowed at spaces where events are held for spectators.

The changes were part of a greater effort to bring city policy in line with the Blue Zones Project. It was also framed as a key public health issue as the use of electronic nicotine devices has become popular among young people to consume nicotine, an addictive substance. They are still new to the market, without much conclusive data on health effects.

The council voted 10-3 to approve the revisions to the smoking ordinance. Ken Anderson, Robert Ballweg and Mary Morgan voted no. Lisa Davidson was absent.

“Correct me if i’m wrong: businesses can already ban the use of these devices on their premises if they want to,” Anderson said. “The business would now be forced to not allow the use of these devices on their premises.”

“We are at that point, forcing a biz to do that” council member Cris Olson said in response, saying that it’s for the greater good and health of the community.

Mayor Becky Glewen noted that school policy already blocks their use among students.

Existing language that bans smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products inside any enclosed workplace more generally would not change. Wisconsin state law bans smoking within indoor workplaces.

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