City of Oviedo bans smoking, e-cigarettes at parks, buildings

Mayor says it's a quality-of-life issue

By Jennifer Ortega - Reporter

OVIEDO, Fla. - The city of Oviedo voted unanimously Monday night to ban smoking at city parks and buildings.  ?But it wasn't cigarettes people were complaining about, it was electronic cigarettes.

[VOTE:  Should e-cigs be banned at public parks?]

E-cigarette users said vaping is their way to stop smoking tobacco, but the city said it won't allow either at public parks.

"It's very disappointing, and I hope that surrounding cities and counties do their due diligence in the future before they make ordinances that would harm folks that are trying to get off combustible tobacco cigarettes," said Kevin Skipper, with Vista Truth, a vaping industry alliance.

E-cigarette user Jeremy Weiner said he wasn't happy about the decision to ban.

"Why? It's 95 percent safer than smoking cigarettes.  It's been scientifically proven," Weiner said. "I don't see how they would want to ban something that helps people stay out of the grave."

Larry Webb said vaping is his alternative to tobacco use and it's helped him cope with quitting cigarettes.

"I've smoked for 31 years and that's the only thing that got me to stop," Webb said. "I'm not saying smoking should be classified like that, but it's one thing to help me stop. Why ban it at all?"

"What we want to stop is the complaints that we get from parents of children when folks are sitting around," said Mayor Dominic Persampiere. "They're smoking, they're vaping. You've got all those odors and smells in the air. It's not fair to those people."

Elizabeth Bazan goes to Oviedo on the Park all the time. She said smoking is just unattractive for families.

"It's a beautiful park and there's a lot of children here and smoking is just not good for the kids," Bazan said.

She said e-cigarettes still don't change her mind.

"If it still has some sort of smoke in it, I wouldn't want my nieces and nephews around something like that," Bazan said.

The mayor said the decision was a quality-of-life issue. This is the first smoking ban for the city.

Anyone found smoking at city parks or building could receive a citation.

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