Ridgeland aldermen banned vaping in public places and restaurants.
Ridgeland aldermen banned vaping in public places and restaurants.
RIDGELAND — City officials cite health issues as the reason they voted unanimously to add vaping to the city’s 2007 smoking ban last week.

The amendment banning the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems will officially go into effect on Friday, Sept. 15.

The amendment was passed with little to no discussion, but it does cite an April 2015 policy position paper from the American College of Physicians published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“The Mayor and Board of Alderman concur with the American College of Physician’s position that the clean air laws prohibiting smoking should be extended to include electronic nicotine delivery systems,” the amendment reads in part.

It seeks to define “unregulated high tech smoking devices” or e-cigarettes as devices that “closely resemble and purposely mimic the act of smoking.” It goes on to state that city officials believe the inhalation of “vaporized liquid nicotine created by heat through an electronic ignition system” can emit detectable carcinogens and toxic chemicals into the air in public spaces, based on examining the findings of an FDA study that tested a number of electronic smoking devices form two major manufacturers.

E-cigarettes have been generally sold as a safe alternative to cigarettes or a path to cutting down on smoking all together, though that assertion has come under scrutiny in recent years.

Ridgeland will join a list of about 55 municipalities that have added electronic smoking devices to their smoking bans. Diamondhead and Flowood both have bans that exempt bars.

The 2007 smoking ban extends to all workplaces and public places in the City of Ridgeland.

The language of the ordinance does not appear to offer any exemptions for retailers that specialize in electronic smoking devices, commonly called vape shops.

Neither representatives from Magnolia Vapes or Vapor World could be reached for comment as of press time.

In February 2015, the board of aldermen voted unanimously to add electronic tobacco retailers to the “restricted use” definition in the city’s zoning code.

At the time Alderman Chuck Gautier asked why the retailers could not be “banned outright.”

Alan Hart, director of community development, said at the time that “this was the most restrictive definition we could find.”

Mike Jefcoat, owner of Magnolia Vapes, said at the time that they were gladly working with the City of Ridgeland to register as compliant.

The entire amendment and the studies it cites can be found or referenced here http://ridgelandms.boardsync.com/Web/GenFile.aspx?ad=3460.