City of Columbia moves to ban smoking e-cigarettes in restaurants, bars, hotels, and parks

Published: May. 2, 2019 at 11:24 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Columbia City Councilman Howard Duvall says city council is revising an ordinance to include e-cigarettes in the “no smoking” ban for restaurants and bars in city limits.

“What it does is, it takes the smoking ordinance that was passed in 2006, and updates it to include electronic cigarettes and vaping apparatus,” Duvall said. “It tightens the restrictions on where you can smoke or vape, including public events. City parks will now be smoke-free including electronic cigarettes.”

In Lexington County, Senator Katrina Shealy says e-cigarettes could create hundreds of jobs in the Midlands. It’s all still up in the air, but Shealy says the county is a contending location for a JUUL manufacturing plant.

“Out toward the airport area, near the Columbia metropolitan airport,” Shealy said. “I’ve heard up to maybe 800 jobs, but that’s just speculation. The job part is good, the vaping and the nicotine is not a positive thing, especially for our young people, but if the jobs are going to go somewhere we always need jobs. It’s not like they’re selling the JUULs or the nicotine from the plant.”

Councilman Duvall says his concerns are not over the plant. His focus is on keeping secondhand smoke and vapors out of public places and making sure kids aren’t falling into addiction.

“I don’t have any worries about the manufacturing plant,” he said. “The JUUL products are so easy to get either through the internet or through your local convenience store, To put a manufacturing plant there is not going to make it any more accessible for the youth. I think the public is ready for us to pass this, it is a step in the right direction, but a small step.”

The second reading for the ordinance to ban the devices in the City of Columbia restaurants, bars, and hotels will be at the next council meeting next Tuesday.

We reached out to JUUL and a spokesperson said they couldn’t confirm whether the company is coming to Lexington County, saying:

“JUUL Labs is rapidly growing as we are focused on eliminating combustible cigarettes, the number one cause of preventable death in the world and curbing youth usage. We are proud to support high-tech manufacturing in states across the country and we are continuously evaluating various new opportunities that can support our growth and help us give back to local communities.”

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