Posted: September 23, 2016
Mayor Greg Fischer is ready to start a public conversation on Louisville banning electronic cigarettes and hookah five months after he first raised the idea.
Fischer’s office announced a community educational forum will take place Wednesday to discuss the possibility of expanding the city's smoking ban. The move comes almost a decade after the city first enacted a comprehensive law forbidding the use of tobacco products in all indoor public spaces and workplaces.
In April, Fischer warned about the dangers of e-cigarettes and hookah. He said including those products in the city's smoking ban was the "logical extension of the battle to save lives from the dangers of tobacco."
Owners of e-cigarette and hookah businesses said certain regulations might be necessary but that an outright ban would crush their livelihoods. Health officials had recommended a ban two years ago, but those efforts never materialized.
Fischer's office has assembled a group of experts who will present scientific data on the effects of secondhand exposure to e-cigarettes and hookah products. The public is encouraged to ask questions and offer comments.
The panelists include:
- Aruni Bhatnagar, PhD, FAHA, professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine;
- Robert Jacobs, PhD, professor at the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences;
- Paul Kiser, PhD,; assistant professor at Bellarmine University;
- Carol Riker, MSN, RN, Associate Professor Emeritus, UK College of Nursing;
- Monica Mundy, MPH, Community Advisor for the Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy at the University of Kentucky.
Fischer's office said more than 500 other cities across the country, including 13 in Kentucky, have prohibited e-cigarettes or hookah products. The mayor's office said other businesses, health care facilities and educational institutions in Louisville also include e-cigarettes or hookah in their own wellness policies.
The health department will host the event at its headquarters, 400 E. Gray St, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The public is encouraged to ask questions and offer comments.
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