Gov. Mary Fallin’s decision to ban e-cigarettes on state-owned property won’t affect Ada’s ordinance restricting use of the devices, city attorney Frank Stout said Tuesday.
“I think that shows we’re on the cutting edge,” he said. “We’re the first ones to do it.”
Fallin issued an executive order Monday outlawing the use of e-cigarettes on all state-owned and state-leased property, including vehicles. She said she was concerned about the devices because they are not regulated and their long-term effect on people’s health is unknown.
“E-cigarettes release vapor that contains chemicals that can impact employees and visitors to state property,” she said in a news release. “Additionally, many electronic cigarettes look like traditional cigarettes and emit a vapor that looks like smoke. This creates confusion for employees and visitors and presents enforcement challenges for state agencies.”
The ban will take effect Jan. 1, giving state employees who smoke or use e-cigarettes time to consider ways to stop smoking.
Ada City Councilman Bryan Morris said he thought Fallin made the right decision.
“I can’t say it was really surprising, but I’m glad she did it,” he said. “It’s a step in the right direction.”
Fallin’s decision came two years after she signed an order banning tobacco products on state property. That order is now permanent under state law.
Sean Gore, president of the Oklahoma Vapors Advocacy League, said Fallin should have allowed lawmakers to develop regulations governing e-cigarettes.
“While we applaud the governor’s effort to keep Oklahomans safe, we feel the Legislature should have been given the opportunity to investigate all of the facts before the government simply issues an all-out ban on state property on a product whose safety is based on actual facts," he said in an emailed statement.
Gore’s organization supports the use of e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco products.
Ada officials are also taking steps to limit the use of smoking devices, including e-cigarettes.
In October, the Ada City Council voted to ban tobacco products and e-cigarettes on city-owned property, including indoor and outdoor recreation areas. The ban also applies to paths in public parks, such as Wintersmith Park, but it does not prevent people from smoking on sidewalks and streets.
Earlier this month, the city outlawed the distribution of tobacco products and e-cigarettes within 300 feet of a playground, school or other zone for children. The ordinance also banned businesses from selling those products to people younger than 18.
At the same time, the city barred businesses from allowing customers to access tobacco products or e-cigarettes without assistance from the owner or an employee. That ban does not apply to businesses that are off limits to people under 18.