Bellevue adopts vaping ban for minors

BELLEVUE, Wis. (WBAY) - Minors now face a possible fine for vaping in the Village of Bellevue. The Village Board has passed an ordinance prohibiting possession and use of vaping products by people under age 18.

The ordinance includes a ban on e-cigarettes.

“The use of electronic smoking devices in smoke-free locations threatens to undermine compliance with smoking regulations,” said Bellevue Directed Enforcement Officer II Trevor Bilgo. “The lack of regulations also threatened to reverse the progress that has been made in establishing a social norm that smoking is not permitted in public places and places of employment.”

The ordinance was adopted July 10 during the Village Board Meeting. Fees will range from $10 to $100.

A recent Children's Hospital of Wisconsin report found eight teenagers from across the state were hospitalized in July with "seriously damaged lungs." The teens had reported vaping in the weeks and months prior to their hospitalization.

The hospital says chemicals in e-cigarettes can be especially dangerous to children since their lungs are still developing.

According to the CDC, 3.6 million middle and high school students reported using e-cigarettes last year. Doctors say the long-term effects remain unknown because vaping products are so new.

"The Centers for Disease Control has reported a 78 percent increase in vaping in teenagers over the past few years, so there is an exponential increase in the use of these products, and the concern of course is we don't know the short-term or long-term impact, on teenagers especially," says Children's Hospital Chief Medical Officer Michael Gutzeit.