Oxford to Ban Electronic Smoking Devices

Oxford, MS – During the Board of Alderman meeting on Tuesday, April 2nd, there was the first reading of a proposed Ordinance amending Chapter 50, Article IV-Smoking Ban of the Code of Ordinances.

This reading proposes changing the verbiage to add any “electronic smoking device” to the ordinance. This means bars, restaurants and other establishments will no longer allow any electronic device, electronic circuit device, chemical or mechanical heating element device, battery-operated device or any other power source device that delivers nicotine, flavor or other substances for inhalation.

The reason this ordinance was brought about was due to the fact that business owners were seeing that it was a problem. Police Chief Jeff McCutchen said that it was a problem that was not explicitly written out in the smoking ordinance, therefore the verbiage needed to be changed.

This will give business owners the right to stop the situation ahead of time and lead people directly to where it is in the ordinance.

“We are trying to stay proactive and look at trends that can affect businesses and people around them. People should be able to go and eat or shop at different establishments and not feel like they are getting smoked on” said Major McCutchen.

Major McCutchen presenting the first reading of the verbiage change.

Lee Harris, owner of Funky’s Pizza and Daiquiri Bar, said it doesn’t really bother him because it doesn’t smell like cigarettes and he has not had any problems with it so far.

“It will make it more difficult for us to regulate but there are positives and negatives to both. If it ever got to be a problem that my patrons complained about then I would stop it immediately” said Harris.

Former Library Sports Bar bartender, Ale Santiago said she had a conflicting opinion on the situation. She can see this just creating more of a problem for bar staff but also see why it would be a positive thing for businesses that are more open to families.

“I really don’t see how this will be a manageable thing for bars” said Santiago “a lot of people have switched from cigarettes to e-cigarettes so they don’t have to step outside.”

University of Mississippi students  responded back to this proposed ordinance change with mixed emotions.

“As a non-smoker, I think that people think e-cigarettes don’t have as many adverse effects as cigarettes. You can get second hand smoke from those type of e-cigarettes too. A lot of people don’t realize that it’s not only affecting you but also the other people around you.” Liza Boyer, University of Mississippi student.

Another University student, Carlye Mann said “I am for it. As a non smoker, it’s really annoying having smoke always blown in my face even if it doesn’t smell like cigarette smoke or ‘smells good’.”

However, some students shared their upset saying that they were social ‘juulers’ and that this change really made them angry.

The University of Mississippi is already technically a smoke free campus but have had problems with e-cigarettes in the past. The Daily Mississippian reported in September of 2018 that the University had already changed their verbiage to include e-cigarettes.

Major McCutchen offered a piece of advice to those who plan on partaking in e-cigarettes,“educate yourselves on what this is costing you. It is not just vapor and flavor, it has lasting effects.”

The second reading of this proposed ordinance change will happen at the next Board of Alderman meeting Tuesday, April 14 at 5 p.m. in the City Hall Courtroom. All Board of Alderman meetings are open to the public.

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