For now, electronic cigarette use will still be allowed in Northern Michigan Park after the plan to ban it was brought down recently. Commissioners of Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation voted to still permit park goers to use ecigarettes inside the Civic Center.

It was in 2010 when the initial tobacco ban was implemented so that secondhand smoke will be limited along with the dangers it imparts to non-smokers. The tobacco ban also aimed to give children an environment where they will not be exposed to smokers from whom they might get the motivation or idea to start smoking.

Supposed Tobacco Ban Update

According to Lisa Danto, Traverse Bay Area Tobacco Coalition coordinator, it was essentially just updating the tobacco ban in accordance to the language and events of today.

Throughout the park, there are many posted signs reminding everyone about the tobacco ban. However, park rangers explained that ecigarette remain in the grey area. The act of using ecigs is like smoking, but it is not smoking per se since it is not smoke, but vapors.

Park ranger at the Civic Center Ryan Walsh said that he left wondering what he should do. During the meeting, he encouraged the commissioners to pass the ban at Grand Traverse Park. According to him, more and more children are picking the habit thinking it is cool.

Walsh also said that there is hardly any adult who uses the ecig in the park. Vapers are mostly in the younger demographic. He explained that while they are in the park, everyone behaves well. When they are gone, they all start taking out their ecigs and cigarettes.

Division Among Commissioners

Commissioners have opposing stances in this matter. They oppose one another in terms of concerns about the ban enforcement and on how much the government must be involved. Commissioner Peter Doren asked who they were to make decisions on matters of health.

Eventually, the commissioners voted 5 against 4 for the ban. Interestingly, the commissioner who first suggested that ecigs be included in the tobacco ban was absent. Even if he was there and he voted favoring the ban, this measure will still not be approved.

Danto expressed disappointment over the decision and said that she really thought the ban will be based on some of the comments.

A Clean Cigarette representatives were, however pleased with the decision. Parents, they said must have the final say when it comes to kids using these devices. Franchise owner of A Clean Cigarette Robert Richardson, said that it is their responsibility as members of the community to teach the children. He added that he is happy that it is not simply thrown away. He explained it is not good to just throw something away just because you do not know a big deal about it.

The Commissioners, however, expressed that they did not really want the proposal to be thrown out. The just want more research to be done on the impacts of using ecigarettes. In the meantime, park rangers will stick to the enforcement of tobacco ban as it is with no update of any sort. Walsh still remains optimistic that a ban will be passed eventually.

Meanwhile In Michigan

Recently in Michigan too, Community Health Director Jim Haveman recommended Gov. Rick Snyder to refuse a legislation that will ban ecigarettes to minors.

He does not support ecig sales to minors, but prefers that the ecigs be classified as tobacco and therefore need additional regulations once the ill effects on health are known. Haveman said that he thinks it is time for bigger steps to be taken.

He thinks that kids will still get it and the law cannot do anything much to change it. Recently, a three bill package won final approval in the Michigan House and Senate that will amend the Youth Tobacco Act so that ecigarettes and alternative nicotine products sales will be banned to anyone younger than 18 years old.

Nonetheless, the legislation will exclude the ecigs from the definition of traditional tobacco and prevent health advocates from arguing that additional regulations are necessary.