Grove City to prohibit vaping in public parks and buildings

By Andrea Cordle

Grove City Editor

The city of Grove City will prohibit vaping in public buildings and parks.

The city council approved the legislation at the Feb. 20 meeting.

According to the ordinance, the items prohibited include electronic cigarettes, electronic cigars, electronic pipes, vape pens, hookahs, or any similar device. Vaping will be prohibited in any enclosed building or structure that is owned or leased by the city. It will also be prohibited in public parks that are owned by Grove City.

Kim Conrad, the city’s parks and recreation director, said the city first enacted smoke-free park zones in 2016. She said staff from the parks department have received complaints from people about others vaping while they were attending a youth baseball game.

“They were basically forced to breathe that smoke, even though it was an outdoor environment,” said Conrad. “This (legislation) is to clarify that you do get second-hand smoke from vaping.”

Even though the ordinance drew support from most council members, some shared their concerns.

Councilman Ted Berry said there are several outdoor events in the city where smoking and vaping are commonplace, like the annual Homecoming Celebration, The Wine and Arts Festival, and the Bourbon Festival.

“They sell cigars at the wine festival every year,” said Berry. “When it comes to smoking in a building, I get it. In a park? I just don’t know where you draw the line.”

Stephen Smith, the city’s law director, said the legislation looks at the direct impact on children and other citizens.

“We are trying to mitigate what we saw as potential health effects on others and children. That was the main goal with this piece of legislation,” said Smith.

Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said when residents attend an adult event, like the Wine and Arts Festival or the Bourbon and Spirits Festival, they know what to expect. Citizens at Fryer Park or Windsor Park watching a youth baseball game are there to watch their kids and enjoy the game.

“They are a captive audience,” said Stage. “Peripheral smoke and peripheral vape are way different.”

Berry questioned whether children should attend adult events in the city.

“If our goal is to not expose kids to vapors, should we prohibit children from adult events,” he asked.

According to Smith, children are less likely to attend those alcohol-based events, but the city cannot prohibit children from attending, as some are not city-sponsored events. It is the Heart of Grove City that hosts the Wine and Arts Festival and Bourbon and Spirits Festival.

“There is no guarantee there will not be kids at the wine event at night, but it’s less likely than them at a softball event at Fryer Park,” said Smith.

Those who violate the new law could face a minor misdemeanor, though Conrad said the city is not planning to enforce this in a criminal manner.

“We’re not going to call the police or issue tickets,” said Conrad. “We are using this as an educational opportunity.”

The law does not apply to those who use a vapor product in accordance with a prescription.

City employees are also prohibited from using a vapor product in any vehicle or equipment owned or operated by Grove City.









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