DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Iowa Senators are considering a new bill to regulate the use of vaping products and e-cigarettes indoors.
Lawmakers met today to amend Iowa’s Smoke-Free Air act. The new bill would ban the use of vapes inside public places, like bars and restaurants, along with traditional cigarettes.
“I think the worst thing with vaping is the smell,” said Tom Jones, owner of Tommy’s Café off Third Street in Davenport.” There’s all different kinds of odors and people have a hard time tolerating that.”
In his 32 years as the owner, Tom Jones said he remembers the day the Smoke-Free Air Act was initially put in place.
“I had worries that we were going to lose a lot of business,” said Jones. “We had a lot of smokers. Half the restaurant would be smokers.”
But instead of losing business, Jones said he gained it. He said tables turned quicker when customers did not linger to smoke their cigarettes.
“There’s no smoking allowed in restaurants or bars. They should do the same with vaping because it’s actually the same thing,” said Jones.
Longtime customer, LeAnn Bishop, said her and her husband have been coming to Tommy’s Café daily for the past year.
“I don’t want to be around that,” said Bishop. “And I don’t think anybody at a restaurant should be around that.”
She said she agrees with the lawmakers’ decision to include vape products in the ban.
“Smoking is smoking. Whether you’re vaping or not. That is a style of smoking. So that should be included in the law,” Bishop said.
But on the other side of the debate, as owner of Boozie’s Bar and Grill, Monica McKown, said she allows customers sitting at the bar to vape.
“It doesn’t bother me,” said McKown.
She said some of her customers say they made the switch to vaping so they could still smoke in public places.
“I could actually go either way but If it seemed to bother customers that were in here or that were sitting and eating then I would definitely ask them to stop or wouldn’t allow it anymore,” said McKown.