Bill to add e-cigarettes to indoor smoking ban in Wisconsin legislature

Published: Oct. 22, 2019 at 6:46 PM CDT
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Wisconsin lawmakers are trying to address concerns about e-cigarettes and vaping with a new bill making its way through the state legislature. The bill would add e-cigarettes to the state's smoking ban in public indoor places.

Several cities, including Madison, have similar bans in place already, but lawmakers want to implement this statewide.

Some Madison residents I spoke to said they want to see e-cigarettes banned completely, but the bill is a push in the right direction.

Catherine Grant is one of those residents. Grant said she is very concerned about the rise in vaping, especially among young people.

"I would completely, 100 percent support banning e-cigarettes," she said. "I'm a former, or retired, educator, a mother, a grandma, and the e-cigarettes have been marketed to our children."

Grant said this needs to change.

"It's inappropriate, unacceptable and needs to stop immediately," she said.

Grant is not the only person who feels that way. David Kargol, another Madison resident, said he's shocked by how much the use of e-cigarettes has grown.

"Five years ago, I maybe knew two people that vaped, and all of a sudden, it's everywhere," Kargol said.

Grant and Kargol both said they support the bill to ban e-cigarettes in public indoor places, but Grant said this is just the first step.

State Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) is one of the bill's sponsors. She said lawmakers need to act now.

"This is a public health crisis, and we need to protect the health of particularly youth, but all of our citizens," Subeck said.

Opponents of e-cigarette bans have argued that these products help people quit smoking. Business owners who sell vaping products have said these bans would hurt their business.

Subeck disagrees.

"[The bill] doesn't stop anybody who chooses to use them in their own home or outdoors from doing so," she said.

For Grant, this legislation is a step in the right direction, but eventually, she wants to see these efforts go even further.

"E-cigarettes should be banned. They're bad news," Grant said.

Subeck said she wants to see the bill passed and signed into law during the current legislative session. The bill has bipartisan support, and Subeck said she is hopeful that things will move quickly.

To read the full bill,