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New restrictions set for vaping in Round Rock | www.statesman.com - Austin American-Statesman

Discussion in 'What's in the Vape News?' started by news, Sep 14, 2016.

  1. news

    news Active Member

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    Round Rock e-cigarette users will have to step outside restaurants and most other inside public places after the City Council unanimously approved an amendment to a city ordinance concerning smoking and vaping.

    The council on Thursday held the second of two readings to finalize changes to the ordinance concerning the use of e-cigarettes, or vaping, in public indoor spaces. The amendment defines public places as any enclosed area where the public is invited or is permitted, City Manager Laurie Hadley had said.

    In the original amendment approved Aug. 25 at the first reading, an e-cigarette was defined as “an electronic device containing a nicotine-based liquid that is vaporized and inhaled.”

    [​IMG] Austin Humphreys
    E-cigarrettes are prohibited in restaurants and most other inside public spaces after the Round Rock City Council amended a city ordinance on smoking and vaping. (Archive photo by Austin Humphreys)

    At that meeting, council members discussed omitting “nicotine-based liquid” from the ordinance, since it intended to get vapers out of the public space regardless of what they were vaping. On Thursday night, council members approved that broader definition.

    Mayor Pro Tem Craig Morgan said City Attorney Steve Sheets provided the council with different examples of similar ordinances across the state. He said he preferred wording similar to ordinances from the North Texas cities of Duncanville and Wichita Falls.

    Morgan read the wording that defines vaping as: “An electronic or digital smoking device which releases a product containing or delivering nicotine or any other substance intended for human consumption that can be used by a person to simulate smoking through inhalation of vapor or aerosol from the product.” The term includes any such device manufactured, distributed, marketed or sold as an e-cigarette, e-cigar, e-pipe, e-hookah, vape pen or any other such product, Morgan said.

    Council Member Frank Leffingwell agreed, saying the wording was broader than what was previous discussed but was also sufficiently specific.

    Mayor Alan McGraw explained the ordinance using an airplane analogy, saying when a person isn’t allowed to smoke in a plane, they are also not allowed to vape. “This is really just putting cigarettes and vaping on an equal footing,” he said.

    According to the text of the amended ordinance, bar owners and operators can choose to designate all or a portion of their bar to allow smoking, vaping or both. Signs clearly stating where people can and cannot smoke or vape must be visible to the public.

    A bar can allow vaping and prohibit smoking if they wish, McGraw said. But vaping and smoking are both prohibited in restaurants.

    Vaping is also prohibited on restaurant patios if it is connected to the establishment with one wall and a roof hanging over it, said city spokesman Will Hampton. Smoking and vaping is prohibited inside establishments or outside within five feet of any entrance or open window of offices, public restrooms, taxis, sports arenas and other places, according to the text of the amended ordinance.

    Three people spoke during public comment in favor of the ordinance but also asked the council to restrict vaping in all bars.

    Courtney Mendoza, owner of All About Vapor in Round Rock, Austin and Cedar Park, spoke against the amendment. She said she believed it was brought unsolicited by the American Heart Association. However, McGraw later said the amendment had been on the city’s to-do list for a few years and that council members had discussed it at a previous retreat.

    Mendoza said there’s no reason to go against the platform that many politicians in Round Rock run on: “big government imposing on little businesses.” She said every owner should have the right to choose how they want to do business.

    The amended ordinance will take effect Jan. 1.


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