Tupelo council approves e-cigarette ban

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com Dalton Healy, owner of Spring Street Cigars in Tupelo, stocks his humidor with cigars on Tuesday.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Dalton Healy, owner of Spring Street Cigars in Tupelo, stocks his humidor with cigars on Tuesday.

By M. Scott Morris

Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Tupelo City Council voted to drastically curtail the use of e-cigarettes, and relaxed restrictions on tobacco.

In a 5-1 vote on Tuesday, the council banned the use of e-cigarettes at most restaurants and businesses.

“It’s not a ban like something is declared illegal,” Mayor Jason Shelton said before the vote. “It’s a ban on using the product in public.”

The vote was an amendment to Tupelo’s existing smoking ordinance.

It will allow people to use e-cigarettes in retail stores that make 50 percent or more of their money from the sale of e-cigarette products.

That compromise wasn’t allowed in an earlier version of the amendment. The compromise also affects tobacco products.

The vote allows people to smoke in tobacco shops that make 50 percent or more of their money from the sale of tobacco products. Tobacco smokers will not be allowed to smoke in e-cigarette shops.

The new rules will go into effect 30 days after Shelton signs the amendment. He indicated that he would sign off on the new rules.

“I think it’s a pretty fair compromise,” Shelton said.

Nettie Davis, Ward 4 councilwoman, voted against the ban.

“I want citizens to have freedom to be selective of what they choose to do or not to do,” Davis said.

Before the vote, it was acknowledged by those for and against the ban that the effects of secondhand vapor have not been proven to be harmful by the Food and Drug Administration.

Teri Wolfenbarger of Tupelo said there has been misinformation about propylene glycol, one of the ingredients of e-cigarettes. She said it is used in antifreeze, but it’s there to make it less toxic.

“Other uses for (propylene glycol) include baby wipes, asthma inhalers, theatrical fog machines, cake mixes, salad dressings, room deodorizers, and as a base for fragrance oils just to name a few,” she said.

Alison Farris, co-owner of Druthers Vape Shoppe in Tupelo, said she appreciated the compromise to allow people to use e-cigarettes at her store, but she thought the public ban would put the health of e-cigarette users in jeopardy.

Many users are former smokers, and the ban requires them to use e-cigarettes at sites approved for smokers.

“That would be forcing us back into harm,” she said.

Stephanie Collier with the Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition of Chickasaw and Lee counties, said the public ban would help discourage young people from using e-cigarettes. She also had concerns about the compromise.

“Are we going to let people come into liquor stores and test their products?” Collier said.


Click video to hear audio

  • jim creson

    Nettie Davis is perhaps the only truly honest person
    involved in City of Tupelo politics. Please allow me to explain this:

    In the recent vote to ban e-cigarettes, she was the only
    dissenting vote and explained her actions by saying she preferred to let people
    have the freedom to make their own choice.

    She is “spot-on” correct and here is why: it has become the
    rule, rather than the exception, for people to be mandated to by smaller groups
    of people to stop doing this or that and then be expected to abide by ridiculous
    adjudication in the name of “political correctness”.
    To grant one group of people the decision they want, is to
    deny another what they want. That may sound confusing but it is actually true!

    People who smoke know it is not good for them and it does
    not matter – they are going to smoke because they have the right to make their
    own choice. Period.
    I do not need a politician to tell me it’s bad for me and it
    is in my best interest that my chosen activities are to be diminished by their
    choice! What a lofty position for them to ascend to!
    If you are offended by something I have done, then I am
    offended that you are offended. There – argument over. If you don’t want to be
    around smoke, don’t go to places where people generally smoke.
    Don’t be cowardly and tell club owners that people can’t
    smoke in their bars because you know what is better for them than they do. Make
    your choice & I will make mine.

    For a little city council to think they have the authority
    to tell business owners whether people can smoke in their businesses is
    laughable! The club owners should have fought like mad men to defeat that at
    the time.

    So, you ask, why didn’t they? Money and political
    correctness! No one wins but the lawyers and the cowards that start the fight
    and then run hide behind the looming legal costs that are bound to be sky high.
    It was simply the path of least resistance to lie down and let the non-smokers
    have their way.

    One argument that was brought concerned letting people in
    liquor stores sample products in the store. Has anyone ever been offered a
    taste of a new cracker, or bacon, or sausage in a grocery store? Isn’t sausage
    & bacon bad for you? If we are going to make up silly little rules, let’s
    make them up across the board and do so in the name of public safety and
    political correctness! Do you see how stupid that sounds when looked at across
    the spectrum?

    This would be laughable if it were not so sad to see the
    right of choice taken away and only one person on an entire city council has the
    bravery to defend that right. Congratulations, Miss Davis. You, and only you,
    have earned my respect with regard to my rights. The rest of you should simply
    be ashamed of yourselves.

    • TWBDB

      Jim you talk about freedom of choice: and I agree with you. May I ask where the non-smoker’s freedom of choice fits into your scenario?

      • jim creson

        Sure! If you want a no smoking club, build one. For someone who had a business who wishes to allow smoking in his business, that should be HIS decision. This type of banning is not constitutional. Don’t ride in cars with people if it is their car. You have the levity to decide what to do with your car or your business but not all should have to conform to your wishes by adjudication by a council move.
        When did their authority exceed the constitution?

        • TWBDB

          Have you checked with the counsel to learn how one designates a smoking area in a public or private establishment ? I’m certain your smoking and non-smoking customers would appreciate the effort.

          As for being “Constitutional”, if I understand the concept correctly, the Constitution guarantees your right to submit a grievance through the proper channels if you disagree with the counsel’s decision. If the city refuses to hear your grievance, I believe that would be a violation of the Constitution.

          • jim creson

            You are missing my point: there is too much government intervention and they have now pushed it to the point of intrusion. There doesn’t need to be a grievance process because they should never have involved themselves in it. Just to center on it, a person owns a nightclub and some people decide it isn’t healthy for people to be smoking in there so the government / council then comes along and tells this person that because they and this group of non-smokers have decided that there won’t be smoking in there anymore it will be better for everyone when the fact of the matter is that it is none of their business! They should never have been allowed to think they had anything to say about it. If it is a building the government owns, they can make that call but otherwise they should stay out of it.
            It isn’t just a smoking issue any longer. Now they want to tell people what they are supposed to say, how they are supposed to say it, and to whom they are to say it. No, no, no……political correctness is simply more intrusion and is underwritten by special interests to satisfy their agendas.What I am saying is that I don’t give a double dixie damn about their agendas and I am willing to stand up and say so. That’s all….

          • Janey Bolin

            Spot on Nettie Davis, wish I was there to vote for you every election!!…….And Jim, Great points, just very good comon sense and well written!
            Thank you Both!!

          • TWBDB

            I’m not missing your point at all; I’m presenting another perspective for consideration. Unless I’ve misunderstood, the city counsel did not pass this ordinance specifically targeting nightclubs; it’s a generalized ordinance for all businesses, be they service, retail, etc., and enclosed public spaces. As civil entities are created to do, the counsel must consider the greater business community, not just nightclubs. Need I explain why it would be easier for business owners at large to deal with the smoking issue with an ordinance in place, rather than on an individual basis ? The few businesses, such as nightclubs etc. who then wish to provide a welcome space for smokers as part of their normal business model most definitely should be allowed to do so, as an exception. In fact, in light of the new ordinance, wouldn’t a shrewd business person wishing to offer a smoking lounge see this as an opportunity rather than an intrusion ?

            To your greater point, government intrusion into personal affairs is nothing new, special interest agendas are nothing new, and all this is politically universal: liberal, conservative, it doesn’t matter – both are equally at fault. Our Constitution is there for everyone.

          • jim creson

            the other bans that may be coming could be whatever the next group of whinners think they should get halted cause they know what is good for everyone!
            Now I’m having a cigarette – thank goodness I’m at home! I challenge anyone of you to try and stop me there! My house, my rules. Try to change that!

          • TWBDB

            So, am I to assume you oppose the ban on same-sex marriage in MS?

          • jim creson

            If we are gonna link all “banning” together for the purpose of general subject discussion, I will reply as follows: there is no need to ban same sex marriage as marriage occurs between a man and a woman. The same sex part of your argument negates any valid discussion. I don’t care what gay people do and if they want to live together, that is their business. If bans continue, unbridled, the way they are, don’t be surprised if some interest group doesn’t get a ban passed on same sex copulation. Evidently, the religious factions haven’t sought that banning thru political channels just yet…..I don’t want to seem insensitive here, but this is about to become funny if it continues. Let’s stick to smoking please before feelings get hurt.

          • TWBDB

            I’m neither intimidated nor am I sparring for a fight. So, there’s no need for hostility. I’m simply trying to inject a measure of perspective into our, so far, very sane discussion about civil law. I’m not completely on board with ‘civil law bans’ as you may now have surmised. The license certificate hanging on my wall and recognized by almost ½ the nation does indeed make this a valid comparison for discussion, in my humble opinion. But we don’t have to go into depths off topic, to discuss the comparison.

            Smoking bans marginalize smokers. They certainly infringe upon individual rights and bring up issues of Constitutionality. Smoking ban agendas are typically centered on discussions of public welfare, most often as it relates to health, and almost invariably swing into issues of childhood exposure to smoking and smokers. Smoking ban activism is
            generally carried out by people who feel a strong moral imperative to push their smoking ban agenda. They are often quite successful in securing funds and enough public support to actually get those bans enacted. As with most things, neither side makes much of an attempt to find a compromise and tend to leave that duty up to the courts. I trust by
            now you can begin to see the correlation to civil laws ‘banning’ the civil
            liberties of gay people.

            Now, I don’t recall a law which would send a smoker to prison, but it has been within my lifetime that same-sex intimacy was decriminalized in the USA. Similarly, I have heard moral objections to smoking but I’ve never known of a situation where a smoker was disinherited, disowned, or excommunicated. Smoking bans do indeed regulate where a smoker may smoke, but they certainly don’t ban smoking altogether. And perhaps most telling of all, I don’t believe I’ve ever read a threat of hostility or character assassination between supporters and opponents to smoking bans on a public newspaper discussion board.

            So Mr Creson, often we find a modicum of support in the strangest places. Even though I don’t smoke, I’d never in my lifetime ever vote
            for or support any legislation treating smokers to the level of civil injustice
            I’ve witnessed and experienced personally. I trust at minimum I’ve given you food for thought on ‘bans’ beyond those which affect you personally. I trust I haven’t offended you.

          • jim creson

            I understand what you are saying and I am not looking for a fight either. I apologize if my tone indicated such. I don’t think I am prepared to put the two topics on the table in the same context although they both touch on banning of “less than sociably accepted behaviors”. I don’t want to offend with a casual remark with regard to someone’s life choices.
            I do want the council to know that I have no respect whatsoever for their little banning procedure and I consider it an over-reach to tell private business owners what they can and cannot do within their businesses. The issues now on the table are way deeper and I would simply prefer not to go there – it is an entire different type of issue in my mind.
            I guess the bottom line for me would be this: if I ever decide to open a business in Tupelo, they will have to lock my sorry butt up because I will allow smoking in my building and not give another of those dixie-damns about what the council thinks or says they will accept. In short, their worst nightmare. Wanna lock me up for smoking? Okay, let’s see how that works out for them.

    • Jon

      “People who smoke know it is not good for them and it does not matter – they are going to smoke because they have the right to make their own choice.”
      This is exactly why bans like this are put into place. Otherwise, you have people endangering the health of everyone around them.

      • L.M.

        “Otherwise, you have people endangering the health of everyone around them.”

        I agree….for things that are actually harmful to others and for minors.

      • jim creson

        don’t go around where people smoke. If the owner allows smoking in there and you don’t like it, he must not care if he has your business or not. Fine, stay outa there and stay outa other folks decisions.

  • L.M.

    “Before the vote, it was acknowledged by those for and against the ban that the effects of secondhand vapor have not been proven to be harmful by the Food and Drug Administration.”~~Daily Journal

    So why ban it?
    It would be reasonable to ban vaping in public buildings if it was proven to be harmful to others in near proximity of the vaping. But it is not deemed harmful to others.
    So…since banning something not to be proven harmful has crossed a line, what ban is forthcoming?

    • jim creson

      whatever the next loudest group of whinners wants to go after!