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Topeka Bans E-Cigarettes In Public Places

Lindsay Fox, flickr Creative Commons

The Topeka City Council has voted to ban e-cigarettes in all public places where normal cigarettes are already banned.

The council heard from supporters of a ban, including Mary Jane Hellebust, a former director of the Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition. She told commissioners that it still isn’t known if the vapors from e-cigarettes are safe.

“It is better if we keep these vapors out of the public places until we have decades, literally, of research to show that they are safe. Go back to the old maxim: better safe than sorry,” Hellebust says.

Councilman Jonathan Schumm voted against the ban. He said a better way to combat e-cigarettes is with public awareness and personal responsibility.

I don’t see it as something where we’re going to do much more than go down a rabbit trail of trying to stay on top of whatever the new craze is to get that nicotine delivery,” Schumm says.

Several other Kansas communities also ban the use of e-cigarettes in public places.

Stephen Koranda is the managing editor of the Kansas News Service, based at KCUR. He has nearly 20 years of experience in public media as a reporter and editor.