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Marysville bans vaping in parks

 

Christopher Andersson

Rylan Samuelson, an employee at Vaporland in Marysville, stocks some of the vapor juice at the store on Sept. 21.

The Marysville City Council voted on Sept. 14 to ban e-cigarettes/vaporizers in the city's parks.

E-cigarettes, also known as vaporizers, are devices that simulate the feel of smoking without the combustion of regular cigarettes, but through a heated aerosol that sometimes contains nicotine and sometimes does not.

The devices have been growing in popularity in recent years.

The council's ban will move vaporizers to be regulated more like regular cigarettes.

A couple of years ago the council banned regular smoking in parks.

That ban has been very successful with very few offenders, said Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring.

"It's been very well received. There's been a lot of appreciation from the community about that," said Nehring.

When that ordinance was created vaporizers were not as popular as they are currently, which is why they weren't originally included in the law.

"It never really occurred to anybody at the time. To be honest, at the time I didn't even know what it was," said Nehring.

With these new devices rising many people are unaware of the rules though.

"Now that it's becoming pervasive we have gotten complaints from people in parks and they're assuming [vapor/e-cigarette devices] aren't allowed as well," said Nehring.

He said it's about making the public feel like they can go to the parks and not have to worry.

"These are public places for enjoying our city events like concerts and movies or just enjoying the spray park and some people don't want to be exposed to that smoke," he said.

"You want to have respect for your community and you want to make your parks a welcoming place for them," he said.

With the recently passed ban, vaporizer users can receive the same penalty as smoking, a civil infraction of $150.

Some vaporizer users agree that vaporizers should probably be put away around parks.

"I think that's common sense. I'm not going to vape where there's a bunch of little kids," said Michael Thorn, owner of Vaporland, an e-cigarette store in Marysville.

Thorn said he advocates for etiquette in vaporizer use, however not all users are polite about where they use their vaporizer.

"Obviously, if I'm in a restaurant and I pay $40 or $50 for a steak, I don't want to smell what this guy's vaping. But, unfortunately we only sell vaporizers. We try and sell common sense, but there's a lot of people that won't buy it," he said.

The City Council's ordinance cited harmful chemicals in the vapor as one of the major reasons for the ban.

"And I know there are some juices that don't have nicotine, but there are so many substances available and we don't know what we're being exposed to with them," said Nehring.

General manager of Vaporland, Joshua Baba, agreed in general with the ordinance but said the "rumors" and "bad studies" which portray e-cigarette vapor as harmful have been increasingly used to legislate against the devices unfairly.

"We want to be careful and not have kids running around and seeing these vapor devices, but we also don't want to be villainized because we believe these [devices] are really helping the community by helping people get off of traditional tobacco cigarettes," he said.

Baba said the devices have personally helped him quit smoking and helped many people in his family.

"They're spreading all sorts of rumors about how toxic the vapor is, stuff like 'it's got hazardous chemicals and metals' and all these have been proven false three, four, five times over by people like Boston University and the University of Georgia," said Thorn.

Baba acknowledges the long-term effects are still unknown.

"We know there's no 30-year studies done on this yet, and there's obviously a possibility, but at least phrase it as a potential instead of claiming it as an absolute fact that these are harmful chemicals," he said.

Thorn described vaporizer devices as one of the greatest recent health advances because of their help getting smokers off of traditional cigarettes, which has much more of the carcinogenic chemicals according to those studies.

He also added he wasn't really upset at the ordinance, but disappointed that the local e-cigarette community did not know the City Council was passing the law and so they didn't "have any opportunity to testify on it."

 

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