(COLUMBUS) – Electronic smoking devices and vaping will be treated like cigarettes and smoking under a proposal that received final approval Tuesday at the meeting of the Columbus City Council. The change won’t take effect for 60 days.
Kylee Jones, Tobacco Awareness Coordinator with Healthy Communities at Columbus Regional Health, made a presentation to Columbus City Council in June, asking for the amendment. She was joined earlier this month by other supporters of the measure, including representatives from Columbus Regional Health and the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation. All spoke in favor of the ordinance saying it was needed to ensure the health of area youth.
Council members wrestled with the question for about 30 minutes Tuesday night before passing the ordinance. The ordinance passed 6-1 with Councilman Dascal Bunch voting ‘no’.
There are three vape shops within the city limits, under the current state law, smoke shops and tobacco stores are exempt from the smoking statute. However, there is no state law that specifically addresses vape shops. The new city ordinance would not exempt vape shops from the ban.
In an effort to better serve the entire community, the council voted to a 60-day implementation phase so the city’s Ordinance Review Committee can look over the ordinance and add vape shops to the list of exempted locations if they deem fit. If the committee fails to propose any changes to the ordinance, it will go into effect on October 16.