UPDATE: This ban has passed. There was no discussion Monday evening, and instead, a vote was simply cast 4-3 in favor of the ban. In previous meetings, council members against the ban argued that it conflicts with personal liberty and lack supporting evidence that it was justified. Those in favor argue first that “You have no idea what’s in it” and then immediately that “…there’s tobacco and other carcinogens in the air and in the vapor.” I would argue that these two sentences can’t be true at the same time.
A moratorium against electronic cigarettes and vapor devices in Austin, Minnesota is set to lift on April 1st. The council is set to vote tonight on a proposal that would make the ban permanent.
The ban would prohibit use of electronic cigarettes in all places where smoking too is prohibited. This would include almost any confined or indoor public space, workplaces, and even outdoor dining or bar areas. This is not an uncommon move for local municipalities, but it further highlights just how much anti-vaping efforts are progressing.
There appears to be basically no reasonable justification of the ban. All that is said about vaping is that there isn’t enough known to allow it in public spaces. It used to be that doing something wasn’t prohibited until we actually knew that it should be. But with electronic cigarettes and vaping devices, the argument is regularly made that because we don’t know that it should be allowed, it should be banned.
This is a dangerous trend. One could argue that there are unknowns about absolutely any new technology or product. Is this a reasonable justification to ban use in most situations? Probably not.