ADA — Electronic cigarettes will be banned from public property beginning Nov. 20 after the Ada City Council narrowly amended the city's tobacco ordinance.
The amendment — which passed Oct. 21 by a 3-2 vote — forbids electronic cigarettes on all indoor and outdoor areas owned or operated by the city.
“The ban does not include sidewalks,” Councilman Bryan Morris said.
Morris, Darrell Nemecek and Guy Sewell voted in favor of the ban, while Shane Sweeney and Mayor Greg McCortney opposed it. Telephone messages left for McCortney, Nemecek, Sweeney, Sewell and City Manager Cody Holcomb were not returned.
“I am sure there are people that aren't happy,” said Morris, noting two or three people spoke against the ordinance at the Oct. 21 city council meeting.
The bottom line, Morris said, was parents who said they don't want to see people with electronic cigarettes at city parks while they are watching their children play.
“If we are going to ban tobacco, we have to be fair to everyone,” Morris said. “People want to enjoy our outdoor area.”
The smokeless electronic cigarettes emit a vapor. They may or may not contain nicotine.
Studies surrounding the health risks are “all across the board,” Morris said.
“It's not just water vapor,” said Jennifer Lepard, tobacco use and prevention manager with the state Health Department. “What is going back into the air isn't completely clean.”
Lepard cautioned the nicotine juice is made in “someone's home lab, not a hospital lab.”
“People should use caution. There are other and safer ways to quit smoking,” she said.
“The ban is going to cause problems,” said Heather Davis, a clerk at Toppers Tobacco & Novelties in Ada.
Davis said the store has been carrying electronic cigarettes for the past eight months. Costs range from $28 to $50, she said.
“People are either going to be super cranky or super sneaky,” Davis said.
The electronic cigarette has helped people quit smoking, she said.
“They look better, they are healthier. They tell us their houses smell better,” Davis said.
Elsewhere in the state, Oklahoma State University officials delayed a proposal to ban e-cigarettes on campus last week. An e-cigarette ban already is in place at the University of Central Oklahoma and the University of Oklahoma.