New Ecig Bans Roll Out in North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina is a hot spot for artists, writers, and creative thinkers, but not everyone is welcome. The City Council recently made it clear that they are not interested in catering to electronic cigarette users and they would like to see vaping completely banned from public places. They have started the attack on ecigs by banning them from all city buses, parks, and greenways.

The public safety committee in Asheville initially recommended the ban after they received complaints about people using ecigs on buses. After the City Council discussed the issue, they voted unanimously to enforce the ban. Councilman Cecil Bothwell said he had conducted “fairly extensive research online” and felt that ecigs were unsafe. Deputy City Attorney Martha McGlohen reported that there was “evidence of toxic chemicals” in ecigs based on trials she had read.

It’s not clear where the Asheville City Council is getting their information, but it’s obvious that they didn’t do as much research as they claim. There is an abundance of scientific evidence that shows that ecig vapor emits virtually zero toxins and is no more harmful than breathing normal room air.

Despite the lack of science behind the decision, the new ban places Asheville citizens at risk of fines if they don’t comply. Anyone caught vaping on public buses or in parks or greenways will be given a $50 fine. The ban will also include public facilities like the local airport, the US Cellular Center, the Arts and Science Center, and Pack Place Education. Even the local baseball field will feel the effects of the new ban, with ecigs prohibited in all areas where smoking is not allowed.

McGlohon admitted that ecigs are tobacco free and they couldn’t be regulated as cigarettes. But she said there is a loophole where ecigs can be regulated through “police powers” according to NC statutes 160A-174. The city authorities plan to follow through and enforce the ban immediately.

Do you think city councils have a legal right to ban ecigs in public places? Are they ultimately going to do more harm to public health by kicking ecigs to the curb?

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