Columbus Metropolitan Library is the latest to ban electronic cigarettes, joining universities, airlines, buses and some public buildings. The library board voted 6-0 yesterday to ban the devices from its 21 branch buildings and bookmobiles.
Columbus Metropolitan Library is the latest to ban electronic cigarettes, joining universities, airlines, buses and some public buildings.
The library board voted 6-0 yesterday to ban the devices from its 21 branch buildings and bookmobiles.
“The library would like to be proactive in preventing exposure to this product in the event they prove to be harmful to others,” Fred Myers, the library’s property-management director wrote in a memo.
The nicotine-delivery devices are being marketed as a healthy, clean and socially acceptable alternative to tobacco, yet increasingly are under fire from health officials and public agencies.
Having the look and feel of real cigarettes, they have become a nuisance to library users, Myers said. Customers see others “smoking” and think they can, too.
“We’re seeing more and more of it,” said Myers, noting that library staff members, until now, could not ban them unless someone complained.
The product is outlawed in some public buildings and Hollywood Casino Columbus and on airplanes, COTA buses and, beginning Jan. 1, the entire Ohio State University campus.
“There’s a lot of science that still needs to be done,” said Shelly Kiser, director of advocacy for the American Lung Association in Ohio. “Some preliminary research indicates that the side-stream smoke has toxins and carcinogens.”
The devices use electricity to create a flavored water vapor laced with nicotine. Many retailers refuse to sell to minors, even though they are legally permitted to do so.
“I think e-cigarettes are the weirdest thing in the world anyway,” Amy Milborne, a library trustee, said before the vote.
Kiser said the library’s decision will help deter young people from the idea of smoking.
Allowing the vapor cigarettes “definitely normalizes that look of tobacco. We’re seeing the same type of glamorization that we saw back in the 1920s and ’40s.”
In other business, the library board also banned knives with blades longer than 2 inches. Some homeless people had been seen carrying knives they use in encampments into South Side branches, Myers said.
And the board approved plans to create its 22nd branch, inside the former Beery Middle School in the Marion-Franklin neighborhood.
The South Side area’s “isolation” from other branches created the need. But population didn’t warrant a full-scale branch, said library director Pat Losinski.
Columbus City Schools agreed to lease the building to the library for $1 annually for five years.
Operating from a 4,000-square-foot section of Beery, the branch will open on Feb. 1. Hours will be 2 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 2 to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The space will be remodeled and have three full-time workers. The total costs have not been determined.