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County tables adding E-cigs to ordinance

The McLeod County Board put on hold proposed changes to its tobacco ordinance and workplace policy to include e-cigarettes and “nicotine and tobacco-related delivery devices and similar products” after a public hearing at its Oct. 7 meeting.
McLeod County Public Health Educator Jean Johnson told the County Board that the proposed ordinance change would require e-cigarette vendors to be subject to the same licensing requirements as for other tobacco products, such as regular cigarettes and chewing tobacco.
Johnson said that while the effects of the vapors created by e-cigarettes are not yet known, studies have shown that youths who start using e-cigarettes have stated that they would be prone to start using other tobacco products.
“The use of e-cigarettes among young people has risen dramatically,” said Johnson.
Johnson said that while the state of Minnesota treats e-cigarettes the same as regular tobacco products, the rules for advertising e-cigarettes differ.
Johnson added that many e-cigarette manufacturers specifically target youths by making e-cigarettes in such flavors as bubble gum.
Commissioner Ron Shimanski said he was concerned about including all “nicotine and tobacco-related” products in the ordinance.
Shimanski said he is concerned that smoking cessation products such as nicotine patches would be considered illegal under the ordinance.
“Will this restrict the use of these products?” asked Shimanski.

For more, see the Oct. 15 print edition of The Chronicle.