Ottawa County bans vaping in public places

Ottawa County

OLIVE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — For some, vaping is a necessary evil, so much so that they risk sneaking cartridges into places where they don’t belong, like Jumpin’ Java Coffee House in Grand Haven.

“We have had issues with mostly the teenage groups coming in here trying to sneak it in the shop,” Erin Lyon, owner of Jumpin’ Java, told News 8 Friday via FaceTime.

Lyon said she has asked vapers to leave her shop because their e-cigarettes weren’t allowed.

“It’s not usually that they’re upset that they have to leave the coffee shop, it’s when we have to tell them they can’t just walk straight out of the door and smoke right out front of the doors,” Lyon said.

On Tuesday, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution that prohibits smokers from vaping in enclosed public and private worksites and public places. Officials said anyone using an e-cig outside may do so in parks and 25 feet away from the entrance of any public building. 

Ottawa County Commissioner Roger Bergman said the board’s vaping resolution passed unanimously with no opposition from the public.

“I think people that vape are finding more and more that vaping is not an alternative to smoking,” Bergman said.

Lisa Stefanovsky, administrative health officer with the Ottawa County Health Department, said vaping can be very dangerous. Little research has been done on its long-term health effects. Stefanovsky aid children, young adults and pregnant women should never use any form of vaping products.

While the resolution limits places where vapers can smoke, authorities said it also benefits people who don’t vape at all.

“We know that second hand vape can be harmful to human health, so this is about protecting people who aren’t using vaping products,” Stefanovsky said.

Supporters said the new resolution isn’t meant to be used as a power play but rather as a means of shielding people from harm.

“Very excited,” said Lyon. “Happy for what it’s going to do for our community.”

Authorities aid those caught vaping in public places will be warned or cited on their first offense. Should vapers continue violating the rule, they could be fined up to $500 dollars and could face a misdemeanor charge.

The nation is seeing a slew of lung illnesses believed to be linked to vaping and Michigan has recorded three deaths as a result. Federal officials are still working to track down the cause, but have said it appears THC products with the additive vitamin E acetate may be the main problem.

A state ban on many flavored vaping products is awaiting court judgment, but the White House has rolled out a similar ban.

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