Huntington, W.Va (WOWK) Last week, the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department Board voted unanimously to ban vaping in public places, and Wednesday night the Cabell-Huntington Health Board followed suit with a similar ban.
The Cabell- Huntington Health Department held a public hearing on a proposed regulation to eliminate electronic smoking devices from workplaces and public places. The vote was a quick one but everyone in attendance made sure their voices were heard.
Michael Nance of Cabell County was a tobacco smoker for more than 20 years, and he said e- cigarettes was one of the best things that happened to him.
“It has been tremendous. I breathe better. I’m getting a full six to eight hours of sleep because I breathe better now,” said Nance
He showed up at the public hearing to oppose the proposed ban on e-cigarette use indoors. He feels it would hurt local businesses like vape shops, because customers would not be allowed to test products.
“It would kill the business. . . not many people would go to vape shops,” said Nance.
He also said he feels the health concerns related to e-cigarette use are more of a result of people mis-using the device.
“It has to do with people not wanting to read their ingredients on their labels and everything else,” said Nance.
At the end of the day, Nance’s opposition wasn’t enough. The Cabell-Huntington Health Board passed the indoor vaping ban unanimously.
According to the regulation Eliminating Electronic Smoking Devices in Workplaces And Public Places, the “regulation shall be effective thirty (30) days from and after the date of its adoption”, and “ Within 30 days of the effective date of this regulation, each employer . . . located within Cabell County or the City of Huntington, (including any portion of the City of Huntington located in Wayne County) shall adopt, implement, make known and maintain a written smoking policy”.
The regulation also reads, “The electronic smoking device regulation shall be communicated to all employees within three (3) weeks of its adoption”.
Cabell-Huntington Health Department physician director Dr. Michael Kilkenny said there have been no vaping-related illnesses or deaths reported in Cabell County, but the CDC has reported more than 2,600 cases of lung injury, and more than 60 deaths related to e-cigarettes in 26 states, and the World Health Organization has recommended that electronic smoking devices not be used indoors.
Kilkenny said the health department sees the adoption as a proactive action and the strengthening of the already existing Cabell County and City of Huntington Clean Indoor Air Regulation of 2010.
The regulation also reads, that anyone, “. . . who violates any provision of this regulation shall be guilty of a misdemeanor under Chapter 16 of the West Virginia State Laws”, and “shall be punished by a fine of not less than two hundred dollars and not more than one thousand dollars”.
KIlkenny said he doesn’t thinks there won’t be any issues with people complying with the regulation.
“For the most part I dont think its going to change a lot of people’s behaviour, because not too many people were doing that anyway,” said KIlkenny. “I don’t think we have ever fined anybody(employers) but we have the authority to fine or revoke a permit if somebody is not complying.”
Kilkenny said Nance was the only person who voiced concern during the public comment which started in December, and unfortunately for Nance he wasn’t enough to sway the board’s vote. .