MIDDLETON (WKOW) — With reports of more than 450 cases of vaping related lung illnesses across the country, including 34 here in Wisconsin, more and more cities are working to stop people from using e-cigarettes.
“As far as public health is concerned, this is high priority,” Middleton Mayor Gurdip Brar said.
The city of Middleton announced Friday that it would be banning vaping everywhere smoking is banned.
The city council unanimously approved an ordinance amendment in late August after an alder brought up his concerns with the rising number of vaping related hospitalizations.
“They produce formaldehyde, benzene and some of the other carcinogens that we don’t even know about,” Brar said.
Brar told 27 News that Middleton was one of the first cities to pass a smoking ban, so it made sense for them to add vaping on to that.
With this ban, all no-smoking signs will apply to vaping as well.
While some say vaping helps curb cigarette addiction, Brar said that won’t change their mind just yet.
“If they end up going through the testing process, which will probably happen now, I might be more considerate and thinking, ‘Well maybe let’s think about it’,” Brar said.
Earlier this week the City of Beloit passed a similar ordinance, but went a step further by adding fines for minors in possession of vaping devices.
“I think this is really a messaging point and communication tool, with teeth if you will, to benefit our community as a whole,” Lori Curtis Luther, Beloit City Manager, said.
Brar said they may eventually look into something similar in Middleton.
“Because the worst thing we could do is for our children to start using it because they are addictive,” he said. “There’s no question about it.”
Middleton’s ordinance went into effect on Aug. 29.
Beloit’s ordinance will kick in next Wednesday, and anyone caught violating it will have to pay a $100 fine,
Minors in possession of a device will get a $50 fine.