Residents of Juneau and Beaver Dam can breathe a little easier.
The two communities approved updated smoking ordinances to include electronic smoking devices. The new restrictions add to ordinances that previously restricted traditional cigarettes. The city of Juneau has prohibited smoking of any kind in parks, making them a nicer place for those who don’t smoke, including young children. The ordinance also prevents the litter that often comes from discarded cigarettes.
When the state of Wisconsin passed the smoke-free workplace and public places law, Wisconsinites were promised clean air. Act 12 was passed in 2009. At that time, e-cigarettes were unheard of and therefore were not included. We now know much more about these products and there is compelling evidence that the aerosol they emit is not just “harmless water vapor” as the industry claims. What’s more, there is indisputable evidence that the electronic cigarette industry is targeting youth, the same way that the tobacco industry did and still does. Adding e-cigarette language to ordinances makes it safer for the 87 percent of people in Dodge County who don’t smoke at all.
Youth are at highest risk for nicotine addiction and the chronic diseases that result from the chemicals in e-cigarettes, putting an entire generation at risk. New vaping devices are being released every day. There are so many new vaping devices out there targeting young people that the Food and Drug Administration outlawed any new devices that weren’t on the market by Aug. 8, 2016, unless the company received an order permitting them to sell. The other issue with these devices is that they are used for smoking other substances like liquid THC, an illegal substance from marijuana. The most popular device, which is called JUUL, accounts for a large percent of the e-cigarette market share including among young people. There are several copycat devices out there.
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Juneau and Beaver Dam are part of a movement across Wisconsin to make it harder to obtain and use electronic delivery devices. Other cities that have passed similar laws include Milwaukee, Madison, Ashwaubenon, Greenfield, Janesville, Marshfield, Onalaska, South Milwaukee, Wausau, West Allis, Beloit Township, Dane County and Florence County.
Some other communities have ordinances that prohibit e-cigarette use in government owned/run facilities. These cities are Appleton, Eau Claire, Medford, Wauwatosa, Neenah and the following counties, Buffalo County, Clark County, Columbia County, Dunn County, Eau Claire County, Fond du Lac County, Iowa County, Jefferson County, Juneau County, La Crosse County, Lincoln County, Manitowoc County, Marathon County, Marquette County, Price County, Sauk County, Taylor County, Winnebago County, Wood County and Waushara County.
This is a huge victory for Wisconsin. The state is making significant progress to protect the air we breathe.
The leaders in Juneau and Beaver Dam are to be commended for caring about clean air and the health of their residents as well as protecting our youth.