Phase one, complete.
For Springfield, Massachusetts politicians, last week’s passage of vaping restrictions appears to the first step of a multi-phase plan.
The end game?
Complete prohibition of vaping prior to next month’s opening of a $960 million resort casino (MGM Springfield). Via a voice vote, the Springfield City Council approved an ordinance to prohibit vaping anywhere tobacco is not allowed, including bars, restaurants, and retail establishments, according to wamc.org.
“As vaping culture has become more mainstream and people of the city have become more familiar with it, I have come to believe it is a nuisance,” said Mike Fenton, a member of the city council who initiated the opening vaping ordinance. “As a public nuisance, I believe it should be restricted in the same way tobacco usage is.”
Anyone within city limits that engages in using “electronic smoking devices that heat a liquid containing nicotine into an inhalable vapor” will be in violation of the ordinance and subject to penalties.
Penalties that could hurt financially.
Here is a list of the proposed fines:
· First offense: $100
· Second offense (within two years): $200
· Third offense (within another two years): $300
The Massachusetts Legislature voted in 2011 to include a tobacco smoking ban to a gambling law. Vaping was initially not included in the ban. The politicians, now better aware of vaping, are trying to make up for what they feel is lost time. The Massachusetts Department of Health opened a statewide campaign this summer to inform the public on potential vaping risks and addiction to nicotine.
Phase two, approaching.
City officials are scheduled to vote on final approval to the e-cigarette ordinance on Aug. 20. The new downtown casino is slated to open Aug. 24, according to wamc.org.
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