Definition of ‘smoking’ amended by TH City Council

8 September 2023

By Jen Thompson, WTWO

ERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — In a unanimous vote Thursday night, the Terre Haute City Council approved an ordinance related to Terre Haute’s city code.

Specifically, to Chapter 6 Article 5, Division III. The ordinance amends the definition related to smoking in public places.

“In the previous ordinance all it was, was cigarette, cigar, and pipe. Just tobacco products. Now it includes all electronic devices,” Shannon Giles, Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Coordinator with Tobacco Free Vigo said.

Giles said she provided city council members with background material about the dangers of secondhand aerosol.

“The big issue with e-cigarettes, the secondhand aerosol, which most people always thought was water vapor, really has nanoparticles, that are much smaller than what you get with secondhand tobacco smoke. And the toxins that can hook onto those nanoparticles mean that it can get in so many more places,” she said.

Giles went on to say that the chemicals in secondhand tobacco smoke are similar to secondhand aerosol. “You have nicotine, you have heavy metals, like lead and cadmium and nickel. You have acetone you have benzene, which sound awful and really are. So, the secondhand aerosol does just as much, if not more damage than secondhand tobacco smoke.”

In a statement, Shelby Jackson, Health Educator for the Vigo County health department said,

E-cigarette aerosol is not harmless water vapor. 

Bystanders can also breathe in this aerosol when the user exhales into the air. 

When vaping occurs indoors, not only are the user and bystanders at risk, but so are all individuals within the room.

The ongoing revision is a step towards better protecting Vigo County citizens, most importantly our youth, from the dangers of nicotine. 

SHELBY JACKSON – HEATH EDUCATOR, VIGO COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT

Giles said the ordinance is important. “We were one of the first counties to enact a smoking ban and now we are one of the first communities to enact a vaping ban as well. We really are a leader and we want to continue to be that. In showing that we really do value the health of our residents.”

Giles said it’s a big step in protecting Hoosiers that vape and don’t vape.

“We’re hoping for everything to take effect, by or before the first of the year. Mayors got to sign off on it, but he has already told us that he is in support of it and then the county process, I’m just not sure the timeline on that but we’re hoping to get everything wrapped up before the end of the year,” Giles said.

As for the County process, Vigo County Commissioner, Mark Clinkenbeard said the ordinance is on the radar of Vigo County Commissioners. The commissioners plan to look into it further next week.