Manhattan City Commission hears from public on smoking ordinance

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In this Aug. 28, 2019, file photo, a man exhales while smoking an e-cigarette in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – The Manhattan City Commission heard from many people from the public along with giving their own opinions at the work session Tuesday night regarding combining the smoking and e-cigarette ordinance.

In 2008, a referendum process passed in a general election that prohibited smoking in most public places and in 2016 e-cigarettes were added to that.

It was banned to change the law within 10 years, but now can be looked at again.

Currently, e-cigarettes can be smoked in vape shops, but the Flint Hills Wellness Coalition requested combining the ordinances, prohibiting from doing so. They also requested to ensure parks and recreation spaces be both smoke and vape free.

Three of the four commissioners said they are for prohibiting vaping or smoking in any business including tobacco or vape shops, but city commissioner Wynn Butler disagreed.

“So I put a smoke shop and a vape shop maybe in the same category as all the bars we have in town,” Wynn Butler, Manhattan City Commissioner said. “If it’s unhealthy to smoke and vape and we need to close those then we need to close all the bars too. I don’t think that’s going to fly.”

City commissioners will decide at a later meeting whether to ban vaping in vape shops or continue to allow them to do so in their businesses along with other recommended items on the draft ordinance.

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