December 14, 2019

Mallory Herrmann

The city council’s community and economic development committee has recommended unanimous approval of new regulations regarding vaping within Lee’s Summit city limits.

The proposed changes to the city’s code of ordinances will be on the full city council’s agenda at their Dec. 17 session, with an anticipated public hearing and additional consideration to follow before a vote on approval.

Brian Head, city attorney, presented the new language to the CEDC at their Dec. 11 meeting. He said city staff have been working with the Health Advisory Council, who has recommended approval of all changes as written.

Head said that he would like the inclusion of a public hearing to give the public plenty of time to review the medical research used to develop the language and to engage in conversation about the proposed changes before a vote is held.

The changes are primarily related to amending the definitions of “vaping product” and “smoking” in the city’s existing codes. While the city’s indoor clean air act and Tobacco 21 legislation include references to vaping, they do not include all vapor and aerosol products or those that may be nicotine- or tobacco-free.

Head explained that medical marijuana products, newly legalized with the constitutional amendment in the state of Missouri, are not specifically mentioned in any of the proposed changes. The constitutional amendment already stipulates that usage of marijuana is prohibited in public places, and Head suggested that duplicating any such language in the city’s own amendment could create an unnecessary legal hassle.

“Just because we’re not calling it out doesn’t mean it’s allowable,” Head said.

The changes extend the existing definition of smoking (“inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe, or other tobacco product”) to include “any heat-not-burn (HNB), tobacco heating products (THP) or IQOS device designed to heat certain types of heated tobacco units to produce a vapor or aerosol but without combustion, fire, ash or smoke.”

Vapor use will be prohibited in enclosed places of employment within the city and in enclosed public places within the city. Exceptions will include private residences, medical marijuana facilities (which will be subject to their own specific regulations) and hotel and motel rooms that have been permanently designated as smoking rooms.

Fines of up to $500 may be levied against either anyone using a restricted vaping product or anyone knowingly allowing vaping in a restricted space.

Councilmembers Diane Forte and Fred DeMoro, Mayor Pro Tem Beto Lopez and Planning Commissioner Donnie Funk were present at the committee’s meeting. Councilmember Craig Faith was absent.