E-cigs, hookah to be added to Louisville smoke-free ordinance Monday

Ban on e-cigs going into affect Monday

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- It's been 12 years since Louisville Metro Council passed the smoking ordinance banning smoking from public places, and now according to the Department of Public Health and Wellness, it's time for an update.

"We've had a very comprehensive law that did not include e-cigs and hookah explicitly because they were not on the market," Department of Public Health and Wellness Deputy Director Matt Rhodes said.

The new ordinance, which takes effect Monday, August 21, will add e-cigarettes and hookah to the indoor smoking ban, which applies to public indoor places like restaurants, bars and now even hotels, which were not covered under the original ban.

"Most all individuals know how to comply with this smoke-free law, and quite frankly, it's become widely accepted as good public health policy," Rhodes said.

While the Department of Public Health and Wellness said they have not received any backlash about the new ordinance, Troy LeBlanc, the owner of Derb E-Cigs, said he has been outspoken about the inclusion of e-cigarettes in the Smoke-Free Ordinance.

"We're trying to help people quit smoking cigarettes, but when regulations are being put on us and the users that hinder that progress, it's very difficult for us," he said.

LeBlanc said his main problem is having e-cigarettes lumped in the same category as tobacco products.

"For example, e-cigarettes don't carry cyanide," he said. "They don't carry tar and the several thousand other harmful constituents you find in a cigarette."

"This is about concerns about the intoxicants or the emissions of e-cigarettes on the non-users," Rhodes said.

"I don't believe there have been enough studies done on the differences between the two to categorize them as the same thing," Rhodes said.

The Department of Public Health and Wellness said the new ordinance does have exemptions for e-cigarette stores and non-tobacco-based hookah lounges as long as only non-tobacco and non-nicotine products are used at the locations.

According to the Department, the enforcement will be the same as the previous ordinance, with possible fines against establishments ranging between $50 and $500.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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