By Noah Alatza
The Fishers City Council voted unanimously at its Jan.16 meeting to approve a new code that treats vaping the same as tobacco products.
“The new language that was approved, added e-cigarettes and other vaping devices,” Fishers city councilor Eric Moeller said. “This only impacts city-owned property, like government buildings, parks and playgrounds.”
Cigarettes on average kill more than 480,000 Americans each year, costing more than $300 billion in medical care and lost productivity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. E-cigarettes are sometimes seen as a the safer alternative, but Fishers’ previous ordinance did not specifically outline the differences between products.
The previous ordinance prohibited tobacco smoking in public places, including parks, and was specific to what constituted smoking, according to Moeller.
Tony Elliot, the city’s director of parks and recreation, told council members the new ordinance will bring the rules more in-line with Hamilton Southeastern Schools, where use of electronic cigarette juuls has increased.
“The updated language will provide consistency across city parks, Hamilton Southeastern School sports fields and the HSE Sports Organization,” Moeller said. “There are an increasing number of studies that indicate e-cigarettes aren’t the safe alternative to conventional cigarettes.”
Moeller said it’s unfortunate that more middle and high school students are trying e-cigarettes. He said the added language will ensure everyone is on the same page.
“It should have a relatively minor impact on individuals that use e-cigarettes,” Moeller said. “The primary objective is to have a policy that is consistent with HSE Schools and promote a safe and healthy experience for residents, especially in city parks.”
The ordinance takes effect immediately.