CHEYENNE – E-cigarettes and other electronic smoking devices are now on a list of smoking instruments banned in certain public places by a 2006 ordinance.
With an 8-1 vote Monday night, the Cheyenne City Council gave final approval to an amendment that adds electronic smoking devices to an ordinance that already bans cigars, cigarettes, pipes, hookahs and water pipes.
Councilman Dicky Shanor voted no on the measure. Councilman Ken Esquibel was absent from the meeting.
“I’m a very strong believer that city government needs to stay out of people’s residences and private industries as much as possible and to only intervene when it’s absolutely necessary,” Shanor said during a recess in the meeting. “While I do think vaping presents a personal hazard to people who vape, I haven’t seen a body of scientific evidence for second-hand vaping, that it’s as harmful as second-hand smoking, which I think there is a stronger argument that that should be banned versus vaping.”
The amendment bans electronic smoking devices “that can be used to deliver aerosolized or vaporized nicotine to the person inhaling from the device, including, but not limited to, an e-cigarette, e-cigar, e-pipe, vape pen or e-hookah.”
The amendment excludes devices designed to deliver prescription medications, such as inhalers.
“I’m very pleased that the amendment passed,” said Councilman Jeff White, who sponsored the ordinance amendment. “I just feel it was a logical extension of an already existing ordinance, that most businesses had already put signs up that said no vaping in their establishments.”
The amendment redefines smoking as “inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lighted or heated cigar, cigarette, pipe, or any other lighted or heated tobacco, nicotine or other product intended for inhalation, including hookah and marijuana, whether natural or synthetic.”
Jason Mincer, Wyoming government relations director with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, asked council members to consider an addition to the amendment that would change the language to include all vaping. He also asked the council to expand the ordinance to include hotels, private offices and private residences that serve as a child care, adult day care, preschool or health-care facility.
But no changes from the 2006 ordinance were considered regarding public areas where smoking is allowed and banned.
“One of the amendments he was proposing, I felt that the most recent language in the ordinance already mitigated the problem,” White said. “The second thing he indicated was the day care and other businesses, and I felt that was an overreach. If there is a day care operating out of the home and there is smoke at that facility, it would be the parent’s decision whether to go there. ... I feel like the business owners already have the ability to mitigate that.”
Mincer released a statement after the meeting.
“We appreciate the City Council for taking an important first step in updating our smoke-free ordinance to include e-cigarettes, especially as we face an epidemic of youth and young adults using e-cigarettes,” he said. “However, we are very disappointed they did not remove exemptions to the current law to protect everyone from all secondhand smoke.”
The ordinance allows smoking in: private residences, except when used as a licensed child care, licensed adult day care, preschool or health-care facilities; hotel and motel rooms designated for smoking; outdoor places of employment, except those expressly exempt from the law; private offices that aren’t open to the public; outdoor patios, provided smoke is prevented from entering the adjoining enclosed area; and private or business vehicles, except those for public transportation.
The ordinance also bans smoking within 10 feet of the entrance of public places. Tobacco shops are exempt under the ordinance.
The ordinance bans smoking in bars, taverns and lounges; restaurants; private clubs; galleries, libraries and museums; areas available and used by the public, both for profit and not for profit; bingo and pull-tab gaming premises; convention facilities; elevators; child and adult care facilities; common areas in apartment buildings, trailer parks, condominiums, nursing homes and other multi-unit residential facilities; performance halls; election polling places; restrooms, lobbies, reception areas and other common-use areas; retail stores; places of meeting or public assembly, including school buildings; shopping malls; sports arenas, bowling facilities and city-owned youth athletic facilities; and public transportation.