A selection of vape pens. (Kathryn Scott Osler, Denver Post file)

Vaporizers and e-cigs now part of Lakewood tobacco code

LAKEWOOD — The Lakewood City Council passed an ordinance Monday night to place electronic smoking devices under the tobacco code.

After listening to public comment for about 60 minutes — mostly in favor of the ban — council voted 11-0 to prohibit electronic cigarette use in public.

Charmaine Brittain said her family’s evening at Ted’s Montana Grill was ruined when people at a table next to hers started using e-cigs in front of her two teenage sons. She said the vapor drifted over to her table.

“They were infringing on my right to enjoy dinner,” Brittain said.

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Other speakers talked about health concerns with e-cigs and a few told of riding the light-rail and being inundated by people using electronic smoking devices they believed contained marijuana concentrates.

“The marijuana industry is promoting these devices to hide marijuana,” said Bob Doyle, executive director for the Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance.

Many implored council to enact stricter regulations.

Ward 4 councilman David Wiechman proposed an amendment that would have banned the sale of electronic cigarettes in Lakewood.

He rescinded the amendment after city attorney Tim Cox said he wasn’t certain the city had the authority to ban a legal object and other council members expressed concern about voting on on short notice.

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Weichman then proposed a second amendment making it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess electronic cigarettes.

“I feel very strongly about not creating a new generation of addicts,” Wiechman said.

The amendment was voted down 10-1.

The only supporter of electronic cigarettes was Tim Burgess, who owns a store on Colfax Avenue that sells the devices.

Waving a vaporizing pen in-front of council, he said e-cigs helped him quit smoking cigarettes.

“We already have laws that dictate where we can smoke marijuana,” Burgess said. “We don’t need more rules. We need more studies.”

Austin Briggs: 303-954-1729, abriggs@denverpost.com

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