Neenah adds vaping to its smoking ordinance

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NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY)- Neenah is now the latest city in Northeast Wisconsin to add vaping to its indoor smoking ordinance.

UI Health Care researchers are looking for volunteers for their study on the effects of vaping. (MGN)

The city council took action this week.

The ordinance comes as new developments are being reported by health departments.

As we previously reported on Action 2 News, the Wisconsin Department of Health says older age groups have been added to the investigation into lung disease discovered in people who reported vaping.

Last week we reported on 11 teens and young adults in Wisconsin that had been hospitalized with severe disease linked to the use of vaping products. Now the DHS says there are 12 confirmed cases and 13 are being investigated.

The FDA has also revealed it is investigating over 100 reports of seizures, fainting, or tremors that may be linked to e-cigarettes.

Whether it's in bars, or restaurants, there's no longer confusion in Neenah about whether vaping is okay inside.

Mayor Dean Kaufert says after a vote this past Wednesday, the devices are now included in the city's smoking ordinance.

"This just puts us on somewhat par with the communities around us. We're also hearing, the alderman mentioned, also hearing Wisconsin state law may change, and there's actually some bills I think looking at making this statewide," said Kaufert.

However, unlike some communities which provide an exception for vape shops, the Neenah city council voted not to.

Kaufert added, "I think when people walk into a vape shop they know what they're getting into, but they talked about the health of employees -- same discussion as a cigarette ban. We're learning more and more. Recent reports have come out that young people are having some lung issues with vaping and that."

Which is why the Winnebago County Health Department spoke out in favor of Neenah forcing people who vape in public to take it outside.

Sarahjean Schluechtermann, a Community Health Strategist with the department said, "It's not safer than cigarettes. That's a common thought out there. It doesn't just release vapor, water vapor, that's something else that people think. It's releasing a lot of different harmful chemicals."

Some of the other communities to take similar action against vaping include Appleton, Little Chute, and Grand Chute.

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