Another Oklahoma town will consider e-cigarette ban, “vape” advocates offer alternatives

OKLAHOMA CITY — The city of Tahlequah, in the hills of eastern Oklahoma, is considering a ban of use of e-cigarettes on public property. With the issue scheduled to come before the city council Monday, text of a proposed ordinance is not yet set in stone.

Fans of electronic smoking devices, e-cigarettes and similar products, say they can support a ban on sales to minors (those under 18) that would leave adults free to choose.

After recent passage of bans on electronic products in Ada and Shawnee, critics have pointed out a link between ordinances banning e-smoking products and emerging grant funding streams from the state Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) — a government entity created by voter referendum originally intended to fight tobacco use. 

In an interview with Oklahoma Watchdog, Shawn Gore of the Oklahoma Vapors Advocacy League (OVAL) said he has been encouraged that some local officials are open to an approach that treats non-tobacco products for adults differently than tobacco. 

Gore said city officials have draft language that would limit sales of “vapes” to adults without enacting a wholesale ban on use of electronic smoking devices for adults on public property. Other alternatives would create limits on indoor use of such devices without lumping them into a strengthened total ban on indoor use of tobacco in public settings.

However, some anti-tobacco activists and groups want to include electronic non-tobacco devices in an outright ban.  

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