Austin’s new e-cig ban starts Monday

E-cigarette shop in Austin . (KXAN Photo/Kylie McGivern)
E-cigarette shop in Austin . (KXAN Photo/Kylie McGivern)

AUSTIN (KXAN) – A new ordinance banning electronic cigarettes in public areas in the city of Austin will go into effect on Monday, July 3.

The Austin City Council voted to add e-cigarettes to the list of tobacco products banned in public places such as parks, city buildings and restaurants in June. Austin joins a list of 10 states and hundreds of cities that have prohibited e-cigarette use in the same places where smoking is already prohibited.

“I agree with what they are doing. I agree with having respect for people’s area and for businesses,” said the manager of Drip City, Andrew Halaut. “I know better than not to use my vaporizer just because of the amount of respect you have to give other people in a closed environment.”

Halaut says electronic cigarettes helped him kick the habit of smoking. “I gave it a try and instantly fell in love with it,” he said. “I can run better, I can breathe better, I remember I would have constant chest pains when I was smoking cigarettes.”

Halaut changed his habit for health reasons, now the city of Austin is changing its ordinance for health reasons as well, and some in the community are getting behind the change. “I appreciate it because I don’t smoke. I just see it as a bit of a nuisance,” said Austin Resident Brandon Paiz.

“For me as a non-smoker, I kind of don’t like the smell,” said Austin Resident Daniela Duvat. “I think it’s kind of a courtesy thing. As long as they are not hurting anybody or the business, I think they can do whatever they want as long as it’s not illegal.”

Halaut says he understands the concerns from both the city and those who don’t smoke.

“I just feel like there should be more information given and less fear and less propaganda spread and more willing to learn and willing to understand that there is helpfulness to this, there is something that can work for this,” said Halaut.

Last September, the city of Round Rock amended a smoking ordinance, banning e-cigarettes from indoor public places. In June 2014, the city of San Marcos banned smoking-including e-cigarettes inside bars, restaurants and businesses. Georgetown did the same three years ago.

The penalty for violating Austin’s smoking ban is a fine up to $2,000.

 

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