Those who love to “vape” — enjoy a non-tobacco electronic smoking device, or e-cigarette — are waging a battle for tolerance in an eastern Oklahoma town.
They are fighting anti-tobacco groups, including the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, and powerful interests pressing for local ordinances to lump e-cigarettes into the same category as tobacco products.
The city of Tahlequah is considering an ordinance fashioning a stricter ban on public use of tobacco anywhere on city property, including parks and other open areas. Intense debate over the draft ordinance has erupted over the inclusion of “vapor” products, as a Monday special meeting of the city council nears.
Sean Gore, chairman of the Oklahoma Vapor Advocacy League, said his group — a business association for vendors of e-cigarettes and other electronic smoking devices — spent hours preparing and suggesting alternative language that was submitted to city officials, including a sympathetic-sounding Mayor Jason Nichols.
Alternative ordinance proposals would ban sale of ESDs to minors, but allow their use by adults in the community.