Oklahoma town steps away from e-cigarette ban. The city of Tahlequah, Okla., is stepping back from a proposed ban on use of electronic smoking devices on public property.
Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols has pulled a proposed ordinance from the next week’s City Council agenda.
The news came after a prominent policy analyst in Oklahoma City added his voice to the drumbeat of criticism the idea drew during the past two weeks.
In a meeting with Republican Party activists on Nov. 11, Nichols said he would oppose the measure, draft Ordinance No. 1213-2013, if it included the e-cigarette ban.
The Cherokee County Communities of Excellence Tobacco Control program has sought to wrap e-cigarettes in with tobacco. The Tahlequah Daily Press reported the program’s leaders said at the Nov. 4 meeting they advanced that approach with the encouragement of the state Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust. A TSET grant program has in recent months encouraged local governments to ban e-cigarettes, which do not include tobacco, but sometimes include nicotine, from public settings.
“This means that right now there is no pending ordinance against vaping in that particular city,” Sean Gore, chairman of the Oklahoma Vapor Advocacy League, told Oklahoma Watchdog. “It could also very well mean that those that wish to ban vaping are regrouping after coming up against a large amount of opposition they did not expect.”
Gore and other defenders of the adult use of “vapes” had suggested a limited ordinance aimed only at banningt he sale of e-cigarettes and similar devices to minors.
For now, the entire issue is off the table in the eastern Oklahoma community.
Earlier this week, TSET’s role in advancing such local ordinances came under strong criticism from Jonathan Small, a vice president at the conservative Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs .