NORMAN — It didn’t take long for the electronic cigarettes craze to make a blip on the public policy radar screens.
First, Oklahoma State University regents took up action to ban the devices on campus. Now, the city of Ada has become the first major city in the state to ban electronic cigarettes on all indoor and outdoor areas owned or operated by the city.
The devices, which may or may not contain nicotine, emit a vapor instead of smoke. The federal government has not ruled on the health risks associated with smoking.
Specialty stores that sell the devices and flavorings have opened throughout the state. We’ve noticed several folks puffing away at OU sporting events and at outdoor events such as Summer Breeze and Groovefest.
Some longtime smokers say it helps them avoid the tar associated with traditional cigarettes and even helps them quit smoking, but health officials and anti-smoking organizations say the devices emit more than just water vapor.
The University of Oklahoma recently banned all tobacco use on campus. On game days, it doesn’t appear to be enforced.