ELLSWORTH -- Various Wisconsin municipalities have been taking a closer look at their vaping ordinances. Ellsworth is now one of them.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 1,080 reported lung injury cases associated with vaping from 48 states and one U.S. territory. There has been 18 deaths across 15 states associated with vaping.
On Monday, Oct. 7, the Ellsworth Health, License, Welfare committee met to discuss a proposed vaping ordinance.
In a letter to Village Board trustees, attorney Robert Loberg mentioned the possibility of increasing the legal age of possessing vaping products. Discussions in surrounding communities, such as River Falls have entertained the idea of increasing the age of purchase to 21 within the city. Ultimately, the Village of Ellsworth decided to keep the age at 18 in the proposed ordinance.
“It’s a lot harder to enforce,” said Rick Sweig, committee chair.
The village already had an ordinance in place for e-cigarettes, which prohibited individuals under the age of 18 from possessing electronic nicotine delivery systems or any of their parts including e-liquids and cartridges.
The new proposed ordinance still prohibits individuals under the age of 18 from purchasing or using vaping products, but includes some minor updates. The addition of terms like “vaping” and “electronic nicotine delivery system” have been added to the ordinance.
The proposed ordinance made a reference to findings from the city of Beloit’s vaping ordinance which talked about the dangers of second-hand smoke and vaping. It cited reports from the U.S. Surgeon General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The committee approved the recommendation to the Village Board to accept the updated ordinance. Later that evening the Village Board was briefed on the committee's meeting and voted unanimously to update the ordinance.