Commissioners considering banning e-cigarettes from parks
The Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation is considering banning e-cigarettes from the Civic Center and other county parks.
According to Parks and Recreation Commission President Alisa Kroupa, the prosecutor was directed to put together verbiage to potentially add e-cigarettes to the list of other "unlawful acts" that currently include cigarettes and tobacco.
The current rule, adopted in 2010, bans cigarettes and tobacco in the Grand Traverse Civic Center and county parks.
Kroupa said the cigarette and tobacco ban was put into effect for two reasons: second-hand smoke being bad for your heath and the asthetic of children seeing people smoke.
The possible e-cigarette ban would fall under the second reason behind the original ban.
Kroupa said the discussion has now shifted from a park rule change to a large discussion of the responsibility of county governement to ban something "because of how it looks."
The state legislature is currently debating if e-cigarettes fall into the tobacco ban in restaurants, which would affect the Parks and Recreation Commission's decision.
"Some argue e-cigarettes are just asthetic," Kroupa said. "Who's to decide what is 'right' for people to see and not see on public property? It's opened up a whole new discussion and growing into something much bigger."
Kroupa said Grand Traverse County would be the first county in the state to debate and possibly ban e-cigarettes from county parks.
The decision is not final. A public hearing is required before the decision is made.
"This has upset a lot of people in the community," said Kroupa. "It's a discussion that needs to be had."
Commissioners are scheduled to meet again on May 15 at 6 p.m.