Mankato has become the latest Minnesota city to restrict e-cigarettes — banning their use in public, indoor spaces where smoking is not allowed. The City Council passed the ban Monday with the hope that it might encourage statewide action on the issue.
Council members said they want to protect people from the battery-powered devices’ secondhand vapor, tinged with nicotine, and keep “vaping,” the e-cigarette equivalent to lighting up, from being an accepted activity for young people.
“We don’t want this to be the next cool thing in the nicotine addiction program,” said Mark Frost, a council member and pharmacist, by phone Tuesday.
Council Member Jason Mattick, who uses e-cigarettes, was the lone “no” vote. He pitched vaping as a healthier alternative to smoking and had previously urged the council to wait on taking action until the Food and Drug Administration weighed in on vaping’s safety. But that guidance did not quickly come.
Mankato drafted the ordinance restricting e-cigarettes after the City Council voted in August to ban e-cigarette sampling in tobacco shops. Other cities have restricted their sampling, sales and use on public property.