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County Board talks e-cigs again

The McLeod County Board of Commissioners will hopefully see a revised proposal for amendments to its tobacco ordinance, to include e-cigarettes and other “tobacco-delivery” devices, at its Nov. 17 meeting.
The County Board had originally heard proposed changes to its ordinance in October from its public health staff, but postponed making a decision until its Nov. 17 meeting, hoping to get more public input.
At its Tuesday, Nov. 4, meeting, Kathy Nowak, public health director, said that proposed changes will be expanded to include suggestions made by the American Lung Association.
Erin Simmons of the American Lung Association presented the County Board with some information about e-cigarettes and “e-juice” at its Nov. 4 meeting.
“Five years ago, I would have said, ‘don’t worry about e-cigarettes,’” said Simmons. An e-cigarette, a device that is filled with a nicotine-content liquid that creates a vapor, cost about $150 five years ago, Simmons said. Now, they are readily available for moderate prices in stores, convenience stores, gas stations and other places.
And although the e-cigarettes are not “directly marketed for young people,” they are “manufactured for appeal,” said Simmons, with themes such as “Hello, Kitty,” and flavors such as bubble gum.
Some cigarettes also have USB ports so that they can be recharged on computers. “You see it plugged into a computer and it looks like a jump drive,” said Simmons.
Simmons said the e-cigarettes are attractive to youth who see them as a halfway point between no cigarettes and regular tobacco cigarettes.
“Youth use doubled in one school year and doubled again the next year,” Simmons said.

For more, see the Nov. 12 print ediiton of The Chronicle.