People voice mixed opinions on possible vaping ban

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A new proposal suggests banning the use of e-cigarettes in any public place on New Hanover County property.

The county announced the proposal Monday night and wants to know what you think.

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Director of Public Health Phillip Tarte says current state law restricts smoking in public places. If approved, this new ban would expand that to include e-cigarettes and vapes.

Tarte says this includes any public place in the county including outdoor areas like bus stops, outdoor arenas and even sidewalks.

He says the point of this proposal is to limit the opportunities for other people to be exposed to second-hand smoke. Tarte compared e-cigarettes to cigarettes, saying “safer does not mean safe.”

But some people on the street think this proposal is taking things a little too far.

“I feel that it’s alright if people in the Wilmington area Juul or vape or do their thing on the sidewalks,” William Gay said. “It’s a public place. It’s outside. It’s no different than car exhaust honestly.”

Gay says it doesn’t bother him too much when other people are vaping around him.

“Public places, especially if you’re outside, I think that you should be free to vape,” William Yang said. “But inside buildings, the smoke doesn’t leave. It stays in one area and that could affect other people around you.”

Yang says he understand banning e-cigarettes at indoor places, but he thinks people should still be allowed to use them on outdoor county property.

This proposal does not include UNCW property, which is state-owned.

Tarte says the health board will vote on the proposal on December 17.

He says there is a public comment period happening right now for people to voice their opinions.

View here to share your comments with the board and find out more about the proposal.