Vaping and e-cigarettes will no longer be allowed in restaurants and public places in Franklin.
Now, Franklin will join Greenwood and a growing list of communities that don’t allow people to smoke e-cigarettes in the same places they can’t smoke cigarettes and cigars.
City council member Steve Barnett, who voted in favor of the ban, said he heard from multiple residents about the proposal, and not a single one was against it.
Franklin already bans smoking in public places, including bars and restaurants. Now, that ban is being changed to include e-cigarettes as well. Greenwood changed its ban to include vaping and e-cigarettes last year.
City council members approved the change 5-2. Members Keith Fox and Drew Eggers, who had raised concerns about the rights of businesses and the city telling them how to operate, voted against the measure.
Fox said he is a nonsmoker and likes to be in smoke-free places. But he also thinks government should not tell businesses how they should be run.
“I am not sure we should have the ability to govern how private business owners operate their own businesses,” Fox said.
He has spoken with local business owners about the ban, who also raised that concern. Fox thinks businesses, especially bars who only serve adults, should make their own decisions on whether to allow vaping and e-cigarettes, and then customers can decide where they want to go based on that.
“I am all about a healthy environment,” Fox said. “But I also don’t think we should be telling a business you can’t do this.”
Barnett said he understood the concern about telling private businesses how to operate, but the city already has a smoking ban in place. So this measure just adds e-cigarettes and vaping to the existing ban, he said.
Residents also are in favor of adding e-cigarettes to the ban and have raised concerns about vaping in public places, Barnett said.
“We already have the smoking ban, why not do this, too, before it does get out of hand,” he said.
The ban will go into effect in the next month or so.