Revised e-cig ordinance to include concessions

By JB Clark

Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Tupelo City Council may vote next week on adding electronic cigarettes to the city’s public smoking ban, but the ordinance will include concessions to traditional tobacco businesses as well as those with heavy sales in the battery-operated vaporizers.

A split council delayed action last week on adding e-cigarettes to the city’s smoking ordinance, with several council members saying they wanted more time to gather information and ensure safeguards for the businesses that sell them.

At Monday’s council work session, City Attorney Ben Logan said e-cigarettes – battery-operated devices used to deliver nicotine and other chemicals through vaporized flavored and scented water – would be illegal in public places just like cigarettes if the council decided to move forward with an affirmative vote.

To accommodate business owners who already have been granted permits to open e-cigarette shops, where many have set up areas for customers to test the products, Logan said the proposed ordinance would allow e-cigarettes to be smoked in shops where e-cigarettes make up at least 50 percent of sales.

In order to be fair to other products whose use in public places is outlawed by the city’s smoking ordinance, Logan said tobacco shops and cigar shops also could allow customers to test and use the products inside the store as long as the store did at least 50 percent of its business in those tobacco products.

“It’s a question of fairness and application of the law across the board,” Logan said. “If they are selling cigars and smoking cigars there, this would exempt them from the tobacco ordinance, as long as they didn’t sell other things up to 51 percent of their total sales.”

Logan emphasized that in places like gas stations and convenience stores where tobacco does not constitute at least 50 percent of the sales, tobacco could not be smoked under the revised ordinance. He also said the ordinance differentiates between cigarettes and e-cigarettes so cigarettes cannot be smoked in e-cigarette stores.

Council President Mike Bryan asked Logan to have the updated ordinance prepared for the next board meeting Aug. 19.

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  • John Engle

    I quit a 35 year two pack a day habit by switching to vaping. I will NOT go back to traditional tobacco. I feel better than I have felt in years. I can now run a 7 minute mile again and I’m 50 years old. All of this press and attention is not about public health. It’s about the billions of dollars in tax revenue that the government is going to lose. That’s the real issue. The FDA and the government could care less about what the public does as long as it doesn’t affect their flow of cash. So they dream up all these regulations on ecigs/vaping in hopes that we will switch back to tobacco products. NOT GONNA HAPPEN. Strict regulations will only create a black market for the industry. Which is already beginning to take shape. My vape cost is one fifth of the cost of traditional tobacco over a months time. One fifth!! Big Tobacco had their chance to give the public a safer and healthier alternative. They chose instead to continue to profit off of death. Screw ’em. They had their chance and they blew it. I’m living proof that any smoker can quit. Smoking is dead. Vaping IS the future. And the future is NOW.

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