MILTON, Ga. — Milton is considering legislation that will ban vaping in its parks and any city-owned property.
At its Dec. 9 work session, the City Council discussed whether it should extend its ban on the use of tobacco in public places to include e-cigarettes.
Because vaping does not fall under the Georgia Smokefree Air Act — which bans smoking tobacco in most public places — vaping is permitted in Milton’s parks.
“The question is, is vaping smoking, and the answer in all reality is likely no,” City Manager Steve Krokoff said. “If vaping is not smoking, it potentially leaves vaping unregulated outdoors or in closed places.”
However, the city enacted its own ban on smoking in parks to supplement the state regulations, and it could use its municipal ordinance to ban the use of vapes in parks by adding vaping to its definition of smoking.
Milton will also consider a vape ban on any city-owned property.
Councilmember Rick Mohrig said the city taking an “initial step” to ban vaping in parks can send a signal that the city has a concern for the well-being of residents.
Councilman Joe Longoria was also in favor of the ban.
“We understand what the carcinogens and the toxins and what components are derived from second-hand smoke,” Longoria said. “We have no clue what comes out of an e-cigarettes, and that’s the worry.”
Krokoff said the city could later decide how it can enforce the ban, either by signage or having police enforcement in parks.
Mayor Joe Lockwood said he hopes enacting the ban and adding signage would raise awareness, and he believes most people would self-impose the restriction in city parks.
Unless a sign specifically bans their use, vaping is permitted at many public places because it does not fall under the state’s smoking regulations. However, City Attorney Ken Jarrard said the Legislature will likely be taking up the issue during its next session, including excise taxes and health and safety issues.
“I can’t see any statewide vaping regulations being more extreme than, or more pervasive than what applies to general, traditional smoking, but it very well may mimic it,” Jarrard said.
Earlier this year, Milton voted to ban any new vape shops from operating within the city. Milton defines a vape shop as any business as having at least 25 percent of its sales from vaping-related products.
Alpharetta and Johns Creek soon followed suit by enacting their own bans on vape shops mirroring Milton’s ordinance.