Avon will continue to allow cigarette smoking, vaping
AVON — It’s not every day you see the mayor pro tem take a draw off a vaporizer in the middle of a meeting.
Avon Town Council member Jake Wolf, in an effort to show the other elected officials in Avon the difference between smoking and vaporizing, pulled an e-cig out of his pocket and took a puff on Tuesday evening. Sitting next to him, council member Sarah Smith Hymes was convinced.
“Allowed,” she said as the vapor rose from Wolf’s mouth.
The council was examining a possible ban on smoking and vaporizing on town-owned land.
“In recent months, several municipalities have banned the use of e-cigarettes in some capacity,” assistant town manager Preston Neill told the council. “The city of Costa Mesa, California, banned e-cigarette use in its public parks, the city of Janesville, Wisconsin, banned e-cigarette use on all city property including their parks and trails, and not long ago the National Park Service announced e-cigarette are banned anywhere smoking is already prohibited on its land holdings.”
After seeing Wolf’s demonstration and hearing from several members of the community, the council decided not to pursue a ban in Avon.
Avon resident Andrew Beaver, a former marketing officer for NJOY electronic cigarettes, spoke to the council about the differences between burning tobacco and vaporizing nicotine, and the differences between second-hand smoke in an indoor environment and an outdoor environment.
“If you stand within 2 feet of a person who is smoking a combustion tobacco cigarette, you do have the possibility of about one-third to less of the amount of toxic emissions that come from smoking a cigarette indoors,” he said, citing studies from Stanford, Drexel and Penn State Universities. “And then when you get to 5 feet, it virtually goes down to zero.”
Beaver also said banning cigarette use would negatively impact the town.
“It’s without question, well known among valley residents that people avoid Avon because of how difficult it is to do the things they like to do. Not because they want to drive drunk, but because they’re just scared to death to come to town because there is a very, very present police force,” he said. “You’ve already got a pale over the town with respect to the way people look at it as a place to go and have fun. And let’s face it, a good portion of the revenue of this valley comes from people coming into town to have fun, whatever they define that as.”
Avon Police Chief Bob Ticer responded by referencing Colorado State Patrol Trooper Jaimie Jursevics, who was killed on Sunday.
“She was killed on I-25 down in Castle Rock on Sunday by a impaired driver,” Ticer said. “So that’s why we do what we do, to try to reduce impaired drivers to keep our community safe.”
Wolf said a smoking restriction would put an immense burden Ticer and the Avon Police Department.
“I feel that Bob has better things to do than walk around ticketing people for smoking,” he said.
Councilman Matt Gennett agreed.
“How well are we truly going to be able to enforce this?” Gennett asked. “And is it worth our staff’s time? I’m really not in favor of trying to control something we can’t control.”
Council member Scott Prince was not present for the discussion and voting. In the end, the smoking ban ordinance was denied by a vote of 5-1. Council member Buz Reynolds cast the lone vote in favor of the ban.
“I’d like to have designated places where people can smoke,” he said.
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