Council OKs e-cig ban
Members of the Onalaska Common Council have had a change of heart on e-cigarettes.
Last month, the council voted 4-2 to reject an ordinance change that would prohibit use of e-cigarettes anywhere smoking is banned, including bars.
Tuesday, the council voted unanimously to ban e-cigarettes from public confined spaces after getting additional input at a committee meeting last week from health-care professionals and anti-smoking activists.
Brenda Rooney of Onalaska, an epidemiologist at Gundersen Health System, testified at last week’s committee meeting and reiterated her opposition to e-cigarettes at Tuesday’s council meeting.
The position taken by Rooney, Dr. Todd Mahr and others who argued for the ban was that e-cigarettes are unregulated and the vapor emitted from e-cigarettes contain harmful chemicals, including known carcinogens, and could trigger asthma attacks in bystanders.
In a letter to the council, Mahr said it is “factually incorrect” to assume that e-cigarette vapor is harmless, and Rooney agreed.
“We just don’t know the safety of e-cigarettes so why would we err on the side of allowing it?” Rooney asked council members Tuesday.