Vaping or e-cigarettes use is now treated the same as smoking in public places throughout Reedsburg.
At its Nov. 11 meeting, the Reedsburg Common Council approved expanding its smoking ordinance to include banning the use of vape products and tobacco use in several public places around the city, including restaurants, taverns, theaters, private clubs and retail establishments.
The ordinance also states smoking or vaping is prohibited in childcare centers, including outdoors when children are around, areas in city parks as posted, city-owned motor vehicles and equipment and places of employment.
The city already bans smoking within 20 feet on the premises of the School District of Reedsburg as well as smoking in places of employment and public places.
The ordinance mimics state law, which bans smoking tobacco products indoors in certain areas but does not include vaping. The city took up the item because it realized the bill proposed at the state level might not have enough support to potentially ban vaping, but raise the minimum age limit for purchasing tobacco products.
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Reedsburg now joins city’s like Appleton, Ashwaubenon, Beaver Dam, Madison and Milwaukee that have similar bans on vaping. In September, Reedsburg set an internal policy banning vaping in all government buildings.
In Wisconsin, current e-cigarette use among Wisconsin high school students increased 154% between 2014 and 2018, according to the Department of Public Health and many cases of illnesses related to use of vape products have been reported in the media the past couple of months.
Sauk County Public Health Jodie Molitor spoke in favor of the restrictions set forth by Reedsburg because of the health hazards and misleading information reportedly caused by vape products.
South Central Wisconsin Tobacco Free Coalition Tara Noye added it could send a message to youth using vaping products. She said 18% of youth in Sauk County reported vape products in the last 30 days in 2017 and the same percentage is now seen in the eighth grade students this year.
“This will help clear that up in their minds and fix some model behavior issues,” she said.