Just as many states and cities are planning on tightening electronic cigarette regulations, Wisconsin could be planning to move in the opposite direction.
A bill set before the Wisconsin Senate would update the language in Wisconsin’s statewide smoking ban to allow electronic cigarettes legal to use in public places.
Oneida County Public Health Tobacco Coordinator Niki Kostrova says that the government hasn’t yet approved e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation device. “…the bill passed in 2010 did not necessarily distinguish in definite terms whether e-cigarettes could be used indoors. It was left up to the establishment owner as far as allowing them. I know most of them do allow them indoors at this time. But this legislation would make it very clear that they would be allowed…”
In Wisconsin, the state law isn’t clear on where e-cigarettes can be used.
The state banned smoking in workplaces in 2010, before e-cigarettes became as popular as they are today. The law doesn’t clarify if e-cigarettes fall under the same regulations as tobacco cigarettes do.
Just last month, the largest city in America took action to limit e-cigarette use. New York’s city council voted to extend its public smoking ban to include electronic cigarettes. Outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to sign the bill into law.
New Jersey, Utah and North Dakota are among the list of more than 100 cities that have already added e-cigarettes into public smoking bans.
State Senator Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, introduced a bill last month that would ensure electronic cigarettes aren’t banned under the same regulations as conventional cigarettes.
“We want to step in ahead of someone in Wisconsin doing what New York City has already done.” said Grothman.
Grothman’s bill is currently being worked on by the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor. Grothman chairs the committee and hopes the bill makes progress early this year.