Madison City Council proposes to add e-cigarettes to smoking ban - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Madison City Council proposes to add e-cigarettes to smoking ban

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Madison (WKOW)-- E-cigarettes and "vaping" have become popular alternatives to the traditional smoking of paper cigarettes. Retailers and users claim the new products are safer and healthier, but Madison city council members and Mayor Paul Soglin think otherwise.

On Tuesday night, council members will issue a proposal to add e-cigarettes to the city's ban on cigarettes. The original ban was passed in 2010 and states that people can't smoke in most indoor places, parks and city beaches.

E-cigarettes are currently immune to this ban, but nine members on the council want to change that, saying that we as a society still don't know how e-cigarettes affect public health.

The popularity of e-cigarettes has increased dramatically the last year, cementing it's place in pop culture Tuesday with the Oxford Dictionary declaring "vape," a slang term for smoking e-cigarettes, their word of the year. In 2014, at least six e-cigarette shops have opened in the Madison area.

"It's such a new thing. There haven't been any real solid studies done," shop owner Kevin DeBauch says.

Huffle Puff Vapes owner Kevin Debauch is critical of the city's idea to ban e-cigarettes indoors. He argues there isn't enough information out there to show the vapor is or isn't harmful when inhaled second hand.

"I think that it's a little bit preemptive to be proposing something like this without a solid basis for it," says DeBauch.

Shop owners say each individual business owner in Madison should be allowed to create their own e-cigarette policies. The ban would prevent them from being used in bars, restaurants and retail outlets in the city.

"I think it should be a business preference because it's not smoke. It's water vapor. They're two different things," says Chris Halay of Knucklehead Tobacco and Vapes.

Like many shops, Knuckleheads Tobacco and Vapes lets customers try their products before buying them. It's something an indoor ban would prevent and owners say would drastically hurt their business.

"If they really feel that they need to do this, I'd love to see them exempt the vape shops from the ban," DeBauch says.

Several cities in the Midwest have already added e-cigarettes to their tobacco use ban. The city of Bloomington Minnesota is the most recent city to join that list with a decision on Monday night.

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently proposed new regulations on e-cigarette manufacturers. These requirements are similar to that of traditional cigarettes and include new restrictions on advertising and labeling.

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Madison (WKOW)-- E-cigarettes and "vaping" have become popular alternatives to the traditional smoking of paper cigarettes. Manufacturers and users claim the new products are safer and healthier, but Madison city council members and Mayor Paul Soglin think otherwise.

On Tuesday night, council members will issue a proposal to add e-cigarettes to the city's ban on cigarettes. The original ban was passed in 2010 and states that people can't smoke in most indoor places, parks and city beaches. E-cigarettes are currently immune to this ban, but nine council members on the council want to change that saying that we as a society still don't know how e-cigarettes affect public health.


The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently proposed new regulations on e-cigarette manufacturers. These requirements are similar to that of traditional cigarettes and include new restrictions on advertising and labeling.

Tonight on 27 News at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. Gordon Severson talks with e-cigarette shop owners and users to get their take on the proposal.



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