DUNWOODY, Ga. — The Dunwoody City Council heard a first read of an ordinance Nov. 18 that restricts usage of e-cigarettes, hookahs and vapes.

If passed, vaping devices would be regarded in the same category as cigarettes, regardless of nicotine content, and would be prohibited from being used in the same locations that cigarettes are prohibited.

“The basic intent is to keep this stuff away from our youth,” Mayor Denis Shortal said. “They like to do fads and vaping and e-cigarettes are one of the fads that’s now into the youth generation.”

The Clean Indoor Air ordinance, which was designed to prevent exposure to secondhand smoke generally prohibits smoking in any public spaces or places of employment or within 20 feet of those building. Exceptions include bars, tobacco stores, adult cabarets and movie theatres and private residences.

Councilman Terry Nall asked the city attorneys to clarify language so that is was clear that medical devices, like an inhaler or humidifier, would not be prohibited. Assistant City Attorney Bill Riley said the change would be made before the next meeting.

Public health concerns over vaping, or e-cigarette, use has quickly risen to become a prominent issue on a local and national level, especially with interest in curbing use among adolescents. 

Alpharetta, Atlanta, Cumming, Johns Creek, Milton, Forsyth County and Fulton County are among the nearby jurisdictions to curtail vape shops or ban e-cigarette use in public spaces. 

Across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed more than 2,000 cases of lung illness in patients with a history of vaping. In Georgia, there have been at least nine cases, according to the Department of Public Health.

The CDC recommends consumers not use THC-containing vaping products, particularly from informal sources like friends, family, or in-person or online dealers. In addition, people should not add any substance to vaping products that contains vitamin E acetate or that is not intended by the manufacturer, including products purchased through retail establishments.

E-cigarettes and other vaping devices are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women or adults who do not currently use tobacco products, according to the CDC. 

The 2018 Georgia Student Health Survey reported 12 percent of high schoolers and 4 percent of middle schoolers in Fulton County self-reported using vaping products.

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