E-cigarettes added to Madison smoking ban

Law does not stop stores from selling, sampling products

Electronic cigarette devices, including the personal vaporizers many former smokers said helped them quit the habit, are now part of Madison’s smoking ban.

“You don’t want someone putting something in the air next to you without your permission, without knowing what it is. It helps protect your personal health,” District 3 Alder Lauren Cnare, who sponsored the move, said.

The rule change applies to any public place where a cigarette cannot be smoked, such as a restaurant, shopping mall and workplaces.

Those attending the meeting in support of the move echoed Cnare’s point that not enough is known about what’s inside of the unregulated vapor.

“I don’t want to be at dinner and wondering what is in the aerosol in the e-cigarette next to us and if it could be harming our children,” mom Margarita Northrop said.

“Madison residents have come to expect going to restaurants and bars that have smoke-free air. This debate has nothing to do with individual use,” The American Cancer Society’s Sara Sahli said.

But that individual use, specifically how vaping has aided their ability to quit smoking, is at the heart of the issue for opponents.

“We’re getting people to quit smoking, and isn’t that the main point?” Madison Area Vapors Group member and former 24-year smoker, Kelly Mack said. “There’s no documented proof that there are any negative effects of second-hand vapor.”

Personal vaporizer devices look like writing pens, and are filled with a couple of FDA approved chemicals. While nicotine is sometimes included there is no tobacco in the e-liquid, which can be made to taste like more than 100 flavor combinations.

Former smoker Kevin DeBauch, who owns Huffle Puff Vapes, E-Cigarettes & E-Liquid off of Milwaukee Street, worries about the changes potential harmful effects on his patrons.

“My fear is that it’s going to push people back on smoking. My only concern isn’t people being able to vape in here,” DeBauch said. “It’s them being able to vape in workplaces for instance. A lot of offices want to allow their employees to vape at their desk. Rather than having to get up, go outside, stand outside for five minutes, smoke a cigarette and make it back to their desk. And then get back into the swing of things.”

The law change does not stop e-cigarette stores from selling their products, or their clients from sampling the products and vaping in stores.