STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – When you hear the term “e-cig” or “vape” you may identify it as a tobacco product.
In most places across the country, it isn’t.
Aldermen in Starkville make an effort to change how this form of smoking is identified.
Starkville was one of the first cities in the state to ban smoking in public areas on a city-wide scale, but back then vaping wasn’t really a thing.
If passed, this new ordinance would ban vaping in all public places in Starkville, and there are opinions on both ends of the argument.
It’s become a popular alternative to having a smoke.
“It is a new form of smoking and we want to public to know that it is our intent in the city of Starkville to ban all forms of smoking,” said Vice Mayor and Alderman of Ward 6, Roy A. Perkins.
The proposed change classifies e-cigarettes as a tobacco product and would ban them from most public places… but some residents see one thing missing.
“There’s no tobacco in them,” said Starkville resident Eli Michael.
“It doesn’t have the smell, the effects that cigarettes do have on people, it’s way more… It’s classified as a healthier way of smoking,” said Starkville resident Cory Williams.
Others support the ban.
“Well, to be able to buy an e-cigarette in the first place, you have to be 18, and they already have nicotine in them, which is the same thing that’s in cigarettes itself. I just think, I mean, if you’re going to buy to replace it, it should be considered a tobacco product in general,” said Starkville resident, Weslee Patti.
It’s true smoking an e-cig uses no tobacco, but there’s still smoke.
“The smoke is definitely something that annoys people. I have people come over all the time, and they’re like ‘Hey. You mind if we vape?’. and I’m like, I mean, I don’t but I do at the same time because it’s not smoking but it is,” continued Patti.
Starkville has led the state with its smoke free laws in the past.
City leadership wants to stay there.
“We want to be the leading force, and not only that but we also want to ensure that we promote and protect the health safety welfare of all those who come to our great city,” said Perkins.
This is not set in stone.
This is something that needs to go through public hearings before making a decision.
The meeting to decide if there will be a public hearing is tonight at Starkville city hall.