HILLSBORO, Ore. - City councilors approved an e-cigarette ban in city parks Tuesday night, 5-1.
The new rule could go into effect with a second vote in two weeks. The council must vote twice per city charter rules. Regular cigarettes are already banned.
There is limited regulation on e-cigarettes right now. Anyone can buy them and use them anywhere, unless a certain business or city has its own set of rules.
Mario Rossi won’t use e-cigarettes around his kids, but he does use them and doesn’t mind if he sees them in parks.
“The smell doesn’t linger with e-cigarettes; the pens are usually flavored and smell good,” Rossi said. “I wouldn’t tell my kids they couldn’t go on the slide if the guy was standing right here.”
Other parents aren’t so sure.
“I would have to have more information on what exactly it releases,” Kristi Schmidt said. “I definitely, at this point in my life and with young children, do not want me or my children exposed to anything until I know what it is.”
The city of Hillsboro and the FDA say there aren’t many studies on the long-term effects, good or bad, but the vapors have some toxins.
Hillsboro’s Parks and Recreation Department recommended the ban based on concerns over health effects and confusion. Parks officials worry people in parks won’t be able to tell the difference between e-cigs and regular cigarettes, causing unnecessary complaints and concern.
The CDC reports e-cigarette use doubled among middle and high school students between 2011 and 2012, but it also says regular cigarette use among high school students is the lowest it’s been in 22 years.
Rossi’s daughter Isabella has never seen an e-cigarette in a park, but she has seen them on a TV commercial she described.
“A mechanical one about this big, with blue around it; you blow smoke, but it doesn’t really bother anybody,” Isabella said about what she learned in the advertisement.
There are no marketing regulations, although the FDA has proposed regulations.
Forest Grove banned electronic cigarettes in city parks and city events, like farmer's markets, earlier this month.