Soon you won’t be able to vape anywhere in Williamsburg that you can’t smoke either.
During the Williamsburg City Council’s regular monthly meeting Monday evening, the council held the first reading of an amended smoking ordinance, which adds vaping in addition to smoking.
Williamsburg Attorney Kim Frost noted that the prior smoking ordinance was very well written, and that not much change is needed to add vaping to it.
The revised ordinance will also add marijuana, CDB oils and other substances to tobacco on the list of substances that can’t be smoked or vaped in public buildings or in public places.
Frost noted that she tried to be proactive and include provisions for things the council hadn’t thought of yet.
Mayor Roddy Harrison said that city officials had discussed making an exception for places that sell vaping items only, so that perspective customers could sample the various vapor juices before buying.
Frost said there is an exception in the current ordinance for tobacco stores to allow people to sample goods provided the smoke doesn’t infiltrate other areas.
Harrison noted that such facilities wouldn’t be allowed to have anyone under the age of 18 inside, and that he has received an inquiry from someone talking about opening a cigar store in Williamsburg.
Harrison said he thinks the amended ordinance would allow for the sampling of vapes at such stores.
Smoking and vaping can also be prohibited in public spaces, such as parks, provided there is a notice posted, Frost said.
Anita Bowman, who is one of the organizers of the upcoming River Fog festival, said the group has discussed prohibiting smoking at the event.
City officials noted they would need to post no smoking signs or the universal no smoking symbol, but that the city doesn’t have any of these signs available so the festival would have to buy or make their own.
Harrison suggested just printing out some signs, and having the paper laminated at city hall.
Councilman Richard Foley added that it is too bad the city can’t just outlaw vaping.
No vote is required for the first reading of an ordinance.
City leaders are planning a special called meeting at 5 p.m. on Sept. 18 when the second reading of the ordinance will take place.
City leaders also plan to have the first reading of an ordinance regarding an annexation issue and the first reading of the tax rate ordinance during that special meeting.
A Sept. 20 special meeting at 3 p.m. is planned to hold the second reading of the annexation and tax rate ordinances.