Fulton leaders hash out details of smoking, vaping ban


News Coordinator

Fulton leaders want to hash out some details before approving a citywide ban on public smoking.

Last week, Fulton aldermen voted to table final approval of new rules regarding smoking and vaping in restaurants, businesses and on city property while they reworked some of the law’s finer points, particularly concerning the use of vape and e-cigarette products.

Aldermen voted to adopt anti-tobacco regulations in October. This was the first time the board had been presented with a draft of that ordinance.

Fulton’s regulations were crafted using Mantachie’s laws on public smoking as a starting point and adapting them to fit the larger city’s needs. Once officially adopted, the laws will prohibit the use of tobacco and vaping products in public places, including businesses throughout the city.

During last week’s public meeting of the city’s board of aldermen,

Fulton leaders discussed some possible changes to the rough draft of the ordinance. One of these changes, suggested by board attorney Chip Mills, was to define the Fulton Country Club as a “private club” within the language of the law, thereby allowing its patrons to smoke on the grounds.

Alderman-at-large Liz Beasley also suggested the city add a clause regarding the use of e-cigarretes and vape machines. This led the board into a discussion regarding the use of vape machines and e-cigarettes inside the city’s lone vape-based business, Copper Road Vapor Shop.

“Is the board comfortable with prohibiting electronic cigarette-smoking altogether?” Mills asked.

The question was met with momentary silence. It was broken by Mayor Lynette Weatherford, who suggested some regulations regarding vaping and the use of electronic cigarettes will, very likely, be necessary.

Otherwise, she said, the old fashioned form of public smoking will just be replace by its new-fangled counterpart.

“We’ll be back at square one,” she said.

She also said the law, as it stands, which doesn’t make exceptions for businesses that primarily deal in vapor or tobacco products, might also put shops like Copper Road out of business.

“We don’t want to do that,” Weatherford said.

Aldermen agreed that while electronic cigarettes and vaping machines should fall under the new law, there should be exceptions for businesses like Copper Road and Fulton Tobacco Mart.

“If you’re going in there, you’re going to smoke,” said alderman Joey Steele.

City leaders agreed to consult Tupelo’s regulations regarding vape and tobacco shops to adjust their own law.

Mills suggested the board delay their final vote until the additional wording is added to the ordinance. That should be completed by the next board meeting, scheduled Jan. 17.

Likely, the board will quit smoking for good at that time.

Twitter: @admarmr

About Adam Armour

Adam Armour has been writing and taking photographs for "The Itawamba County Times" since 2005. His words and pictures have earned 18 Mississippi Press Association Awards, including several "Best of" category recognitions. He has written and independently published one novel and is currently working on a second.

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