Vape shop owner asks for amendment in smoking ban

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By Amanda Manning

 Two weeks after Oldham County voted to include electronic cigarettes in its local smoking-free ordinance, a vape shop owner is asking for an amendment.

Keith Hadley, a local vape shop owner and representative of the Kentucky Smoke Free Commission, asked fiscal court to include an exemption in the ban for small businesses during public comment May 1. 

Hadley said that under the current rules, he wouldn’t be able to let his customers test the vape pens. 

“They don’t necessarily like the taste or smell of cigarettes. Everybody’s palates are different, they need to have the ability to test different flavors,” Hadley said. 

He added that there is no nicotine in their testers.

“This is a lot better than a patch because there’s a support system,” Hadley said. “We can try to tailor it to what they need in order to give them motivation. I really find that an amendment for vapor shops would help to maintain the businesses here in Oldham County.”

Hadley is asking for an amendment similar to one that was approved recently in Louisville and Lexington.

“I’m asking a slight amendment just as Louisville has adopted to protect these small businesses,” he said. “If your retail location sells 85 percent or more vapor products, then they are exempted.”

Amanda Bogard, a representative from the Kentucky Center for a Smoke Free Policy, also spoke during public comment. 

“E-cigarettes do give out an aerosol, they pollute the air,” Bogard said. “Our primary concern in including them in a smoke free policy is air pollution. No one should have to work in an environment where they can’t breath clean air.”

Under the new ordinance, smoking e-cigarettes, vape pens, hookahs and similar devices are banned in workplaces and indoor public places.

“If that ordinance goes into effect, it would put these gentlemen out of business,” lawyer Jason Underwood who represents several vape shops said during the hearing.

Oldham County Health Department Health Educator Liz Burrows confirmed to the court that the ordinance is already in effect. “It went into effect last Thursday when it was published in the Oldham Era,” she said.

No one in the public spoke in opposition of the smoking ban when it passed April 17 at a vote of 7-1, with Magistrate Steve Greenwell voting against.

Magistrate Greenwell led fiscal court that day as Judge-Executive David Voegele was absent.

The magistrates decided that the ordinance would be discussed at a public safety committee meeting in June.