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Retailer reacts to indoor vaping ban, alderman willing to make a change

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) - The ban on vaping indoors in Milwaukee took affect Tuesday.

The ban is just like what happened to cigarettes in the state, if you want to use e-cigs you have to go outside.

But at least one local vaping shop has a problem with part of the law, and the alderman who authored it say he may be willing to change it.

Business was steady at vaping lounge Dripper’s Paradise the day the ban went into effect.

But their sample bar, where people used to try their flavor before they bought it, was quiet.

“We do have customers that come in and know what they want, but that was due to the fact, at some point in time they sat at that bar for an hour, two hours, just trying all different flavors,” said Joseph Tijerina who works at the shop.

“We don’t need to have another generation smoking a product,” said Alderman Michael Murphy who authored the ban.

“This is a product that is not a healthy product, despite the company saying it is, it isn’t,” said Alderman Murphy, “and it’s based on the Surgeon General’s evidence, it’s based on very thoughtful and serious health reports.”

He says the ban keeps people from having to breathe in the smoke in public, but more importantly it’s aimed at cutting down on the number of kids picking up the habit.

“They really have had a huge market share increase in young people vaping,” said the Alderman, “despite saying they’re not, they are making products flavored with gummi bears.”

Tijerina says he isn’t against the ban. “We view it as, if you can’t smoke a cigarette there, you shouldn’t be smoking anything there,” he said.

But he points to a double standard. When the smoking ban was put in place, cigar bars were exempt.  Tijerina would like to see the same thing happen for vaping shops.

“They’re allowed to smoke indoors because they were grandfathered in, so what’s stopping us from being grandfathered in, we were around before the laws hit,” said Tijerina.

It’s an idea that Alderman Murphy says he’ll consider. “The whole emphasis was really to keep it out of young people’s hands and also public places, vaping stores, if someone is going in to buy the product, perhaps maybe there may be an exemption so I will take that under advisement,” said Alderman Murphy.

Banning vaping indoors is part of a recent anti-tobacco push. The city has also increased fines on selling tobacco products to minors.

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