Petal (Mississippi) resident Jonathan McNeil used to smoke three packs of cigarettes a day. His smoking once caused his two cousins to have asthma attacks, and even forced him to have to use an inhaler. “Now that I vape, I don’t need one,” he said. “I was vaping at the shop and filled the whole place with the vapor. My little cousins walked in, and they were fine. They didn’t have a single attack.” McNeil is one of many who believe electronic cigarettes help people more than they harm them. “This vapor is fine for people to be around,” he said. “It’s the same stuff that comes out of smoke machines on Halloween. A business should be able to do what it wants, so I think a ban like this from the government isn’t needed.” But there are plenty who disagree.
E-cigarettes are being banned in an increasing number of locations, as the debate about their potential harmful side effects rages on. So far, Petal is the lone city in Forrest and Lamar counties to specifically address the electronic smoking devices, although the issue is on other cities’ radar. “We’re just trying to keep pace with the technology that is out there,” said Petal Ward 4, Alderman Brad Amacker, who proposed the Friendly City’s ban on using the devices in public locations. “We already have the ban on tobacco cigarettes, so it only seemed prudent to update the ordinance to reflect current smoking devices.”
American Non-smokers Rights Foundation (ANRF) issued a report detailing Local Laws Regulating Use of E-cigarettes. As of July 1, Mississippi had 46 cities and counties where laws restrict e-cigarette use in 100 percent smoke-free venues. Locations close to the Hub City include Bassfield, New Augusta, and Prentiss. Bans have been more widespread in other parts of the country. North Dakota, New Jersey, Utah, and New York have made state-wide laws addressing the devices, stating they are not to be used in locations that are considered smoke-free. About 20 other states have laws regulating the use of e-cigs, and hundreds of municipalities have their own laws. In Mississippi, there are no state-wide restrictions on the devices except that they are not to be sold to minors. Many feel banning the devices in public places is unjustified due to the differences between tobacco and e-cigarettes. Read full article
View/download ANRF: States and Municipalities with Laws Regulating Use of Electronic Cigarettes