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Missoula looks at updating no smoking rules to include e-cigs

KPAX-TV photo (MISSOULA)- The Missoula city council plans to update the city's smoking ordinance, adding e-cigarettes to the list of products that can't be used in public places. 

The popularity of electronic cigarettes used for "vaping", or as a replacement for regular cigarettes, has been growing in recent years. But until now, the city's smoking regulations haven't specifically dealt with the new technology. 

The Montana Clean Indoor Air Act, which went into effect in 2005 required indoor spaces to be "smoke free", but excepted bars, casinos and taverns. However that changed to include all businesses 9-years ago. 

Health Department officials are recommending the council change the current rules to not only reduce second hand smoke and "vape" exposure, but also to discourage people from "vaping", especially teens. They say e-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among Montana's youth. 

The changes would not only ban electronic smokes used for vaping, but give business owners the right to ban them within 25-feet of their entryways. 

The council's Public Safety and Health Committee has voted unanimously to have a public hearing on the changes before the full council February 26th. 

Missoula's original smoking ordinance was enacted in 1999.