The Carmel City Council reviewed an ordinance Monday night that would ban e-cigarette smoking in public places. The city already restricts cigarette smoking. It plans to make the ordinance a broader ban.
The council discussed removing exclusions in the existing ordinance, including bars, tobacco stores, hotels and private clubs that allow smoking.
Councilor Sue Finkam, who sponsors the ordinance, says she’s confident it will pass.
“As a mom and also a council member, I’ve learned a ton through the introduction of this ordinance,” Finkam says. “I had no idea about the second hand smoke concerns with e-cigarettes and the rampant use at high schools, not only at Carmel, but also across Indiana.”
Carmel High School junior Isabel Jensen says students smoking e-cigarettes in school is a distraction, and she hopes it will be banned.
“It makes me personally really uncomfortable because I know that it’s bad for them, but I know that they’re fine with it, and most everyone else in the class is fine with it,” Jensen says. “It just feels so crazy and almost surreal.”
Associate Director of the Family Medicine Residency at Community Hospital East Cynthia Meneghini estimates more than 25% of Carmel High School students smoke or vape.
“We have to lead by example,” Meneghini says. “We have to prevent e-cigarette use in public places, so kids don’t see, 'oh, I can’t smoke in public, but I can JUUL. It must be safe.'”
The council will hold another meeting the last week of June to hear more public input. It will vote on the ordinance the first week of July.