Springfield City Council members will likely vote next week in favor of restricting the use of e-cigarettes in public, work places and within 15 feet of entrances.
Following recent reports of illnesses linked to vaping, and one death in Illinois last week, council members say they want to be proactive.
Ward 9 Ald. Jim Donelan said he’s heard from several people and businesses in the community. “Choosing to utilize electronic cigarettes is one thing. But it’s those individuals that are out in public or in work places that don’t have the choice because someone next to them is utilizing an electronic cigarette that I’m concerned about," he said.
If approved, the change would put vaping under the same restrictions as smoking cigarettes in public.
Mayor Jim Langfelder said recent reports of respiratory illnesses connected to vaping is alarming. “I think people thought -- it is a safe way to smoke. I mean, if you go back in the 60s when I was growing up, there were smoking commercials and everything else," he said.
"Now you have vaping commercials and it’s acted upon like there is no side-effects to that, but there is.”
One Illinois resident died last week from a lung illness linked to vaping. It is the first confirmed death in the country.
Ward 3 Ald. Doris Turner said she supports the ordinace and wants to see an online campaign around vaping usage. "That's really the way that most users learn about things and get their information-- it's through social media. So I think that we have a real opportunity to not only put something in place that's legislative and regulation, but also to educate."
Langfelder says he hopes the city council will also add smoking marijuana to the list of public restrictions -- once that becomes legal to use January 1.
The city council could vote on the ordinance as early as next week.