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New bill could ban public vaping in Iowa

DES MOINES — A new bill could prevent Iowans from vaping in the same public areas and businesses that currently ban cigarettes. Tuesday, state legislators will ...

DES MOINES — A new bill could prevent Iowans from vaping in the same public areas and businesses that currently ban cigarettes.

Tuesday, state legislators will discuss a bill that would expand the Iowa Smoke Free Air Act. The bill expands the definition of “smoking” to include vapor products–not just cigarettes.

Places like Beechwood Lounge in the East Village in Des Moines currently allow people to vape, if they like.

“I’m older; I don’t vape,” said general manager Eric Olson. “But you know there are a lot of young kids that come in here that do.”

Olson said most customers who come into Beechwood and want to vape, ask first.

“I’ll just say as long as it’s not bothering anyone,” Olson said. He says so far, he’s not gotten any complaints from customers.

But a proposed bill would mean Olson would have to say no to people who want to vape, or get fined $100.

According to the bill, a person who violates the code by vaping in certain businesses, public spaces, and outdoors areas would be fined $50. Business owners who violate the code by allowing vaping would be fined $100 for the first violation within a year, $200 for the second violation, and $500 for each violation after that.

Carol Horton, co-owner of Unkl Ruckus’s Smoking Emporium& Skate Shop says she can see the reason behind the bill but ultimately doesn’t think it’s a big deal.

“We let people vape in here when they walk in,” said Horton. “It does not affect my breathing or anything like that; it doesn’t leave a lingering smell for very long.”

Horton says that she doesn’t think it will keep people from buying her products.

“I don’t think it would affect us, people are still going to vape,” Horton said.

Senate members will discuss the bill Tuesday morning at 11:30. To read the full bill, click here.