Avon Lake considering smoking ban in all public spaces

AVON LAKE, Ohio- Smoking in public spaces across Avon Lake could be a thing of the past, as city officials weigh a smoking ban that includes electronic cigarettes.

The proposed ordinance is in the initial stages of city council discussion. However, news of including "vaping" within the city-wide ban has some business owners questioning the potential change.

"I can see it angering many of my customers who enjoy walking the beaches here, who enjoy walking the paths," said Brenda Mayo, owner of Seeds of Wellness, which sells e-cigarette products.

Smoking is currently not allowed in city buildings. However, under the proposal, it would expand to all city parks, beaches and recreational spaces.

Mayor Greg Zilka states the change has potential to decrease secondhand smoke and cigarette litter.

"If we talk about individual liberties, people's right to smoke, there are also people's right not to inhale secondhand smoke which we know does have an impact," said Mayor Zilka.

Mayo counters that argument, stating e-cigarettes are being unfairly lumped into the umbrella of smoking tobacco under the proposal.

"Electronic cigarettes contain very few chemicals and it's a vapor; once it dissipates, it's gone, so it's not lingering like cigarette smoke," explained Mayo.

The city is working with the Lorain County General Health District to learn about the health benefits of this possible ban.

An official with the health district released the following statement:

"The Lorain County General Health District supports healthy environments. Tobacco use prevention efforts lead to better health outcomes. When communities and environments are set up in ways to promote healthy choices, it makes it easier for people to choose healthy behaviors."

According to the mayor, if the proposal goes to a city council vote it likely won't happen until spring, giving many across the city time to weigh in on the possible outcome.