E-Cigs Debate Continues in Grand Traverse County - Northern Michigan's News Leader

E-Cigs Debate Continues in Grand Traverse County

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The new electronic cigarettes are causing controversy in Grand Traverse County, some want to ban them from a local park.

The Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation commission voted tonight on whether or not E-cigs will be allowed at the Civic Center.

The park has been smoke and tobacco free since 2010. A few months ago, a proposal was brought to the commission to ban E-cigs from the park because of the image it sets for kids.

A commissioner brought up the proposal to ban E-cigs at the park because he didn't like his child being exposed to it. But tonight, the ban was voted down. "It sounded like there was support to pass it, it was a close vote, I think if one commissioner had been present it would have been a tie," said Lisa Danto, Traverse Bay Area Tobacco Coalition.

It's been a very controversial issue that many health agencies and cigarette stores have piped in on. "We're feeling that just like regular cigarettes it should be restricted in public places, on public property," says Danto. "I'm just looking at the rights of people who are, some people who are at least trying to take an active role in their lives and changing habit," says Dan Laubenheimer, manager at A Clean Cigarette.

Along with public comment, the commissioners were all on the fence about the issue but ended up saying that they shouldn't be the ones making the decision on it. "It's a park policy, we don't make law, we aren't legislatures, we're simply county commissioners and it would be a park rule. It's not necessarily the proper venue for this regulation, it may be a more proper venue in the state government," says Alisa Kroupa, Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation commission president.

The commission says they will hold onto the prosecutor's language on the proposed policy in case they want to revisit the ban.