City Council interested in banning e-cigarettes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

City Council interested in banning e-cigarettes

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You may not be able to use e-cigarettes on city-owned property or private property in Iowa City, if the city council has its way.

During the city's regular council meeting Tuesday, council members expressed interests in moving quickly in banning the use of e-cigarettes and other vapor-releasing devices in restaurants and bars.

Although the banning on private property still has to be looked at by the Iowa Attorney General's Office, the council wants to move quickly.

"Maybe that's a little heavy-handed," said Roger Keene, manager of Konnexion smoke shop in Iowa City. "But I understand that there's certainly people out there that will abuse it. Just like people smoking cigarettes, they just blow it in your face."

Konnexion sells tobacco supplies, including electronic cigarettes.

He says e-cigarette sales have been very steady over the past couple years from people ages 18-85.

"We've sold them for quite a bit longer, but certainly it's taken off in the last year or two," said Keene.

Johnson County Public Health Director Doug Beardsley was at the council meeting Tuesday discussing the large uptick in youth using the devices, and the unknowns about them.

"There's still a lot of unknowns, but there are still a lot of knowns," said Beardsley. "One thing we do know is that this is a totally unregulated market."

He says the city is only trying to maintain an atmosphere in smoke-free public places under the Iowa Smokefree Air Act.

The Smokefree Air Act was passed back in 2008 prohibiting smoking in almost all public places and enclosed areas within places of employment, and some outdoor areas.

He says there is nicotine in those vapors and the effects of e-cigarettes use are not fully known.

That could be one of the reasons why Iowa City leaders are looking into banning the use.

Iowa City already goes farther than the state smoking law by not allowing smoking in certain sections of public parks, city-owned parking ramps and the Ped mall, according to Beardsley.

"Restaurants, I think it should be up to the business, really," said Keene.

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