Austin City Council approves adding e-cigs and vapes to smoking ordinance

The Austin City Council moved forward with a resolution on adding electronic smoking devices to the city's smoking ordinance.

Austin City Council Member Delia Garza was met with cheers as she responded to the approval of adding electronic cigarettes and vapes to the smoking ban, “I am glad we were able to accomplish this to make that clear for establishments, that we don't like smoking in our restaurants and bars.”

Right now the city’s ordinance doesn't allow smoking in public places such as parks, bars and restaurants.

“There has been in a little bit of a loophole that people can vape, even bars and restaurants have concerns about this because they feel like they can't. They can't tell a customer that they can't do that because there seems to be this gray in the law.” Garza said she thinks it’s a great move for the community.

But not everyone thinks it's a good idea.

Izzie Ratliff is the Austin Area Manager for Create A Cig, “There's so many applications and there's so many health benefits versus actual smoking by including us in that ordinance isn't a great light.”

She said when people come to them who are vaping with nicotine they let them know to stick with areas you're allowed to smoke. “We do tell people don't vape in your grocery store or your restaurants obviously in places that smoking is not allowed, vaping, vapors should be just as courteous.” But she said not everyone is vaping what many think are harmful chemicals and adding vapes to the ordinance could have an impact not only on their sales but more importantly some people's health.

“There's a lot of people that just vape e-liquid but without the nicotine. I feel like it's more harmful for people to be lumped in with smokers, because what we are doing is trying to help people and change their health and by now putting the city ordinance in place it definitely deters people from quitting big tobacco,” she said.

The ordinance change will go into effect May 22, 2017.