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E-cig talks tabled again by county

The McLeod County Board, meeting Nov. 17, yet again tabled a decision on adopting amendments to its tobacco ordinance and postponed the vote to its Dec. 2 meeting.
Public Health Director Kathy Nowak and Jean Johnson, public health educator, presented a revised proposal of the ordinance for board members that included language more closely aligned with that in the state tobacco ordinance regarding e-cigarettes, and changes in wording, such as “smoke-free” to “tobacco-free.”
The county’s ordinance also includes banning e-cigarettes in public places such as restaurants, bars and workplaces, whereas the state’s tobacco ordinance does not.
Johnson said she feels banning e-cigarettes at all workplaces could help lower the state’s average of youth who have tried e-cigarettes.
“The average number of students who have tried an e-cigarette in the state of Minnesota is 12.9 percent. The national average is 2.8 percent. Our kids are trying them at a much faster pace than the nation, which is sad,” Johnson said.
She said kids see smoking in public and have the perception that e-cigarettes are OK. She also said she feels as if smoking e-cigarettes in public is sort of “advertising” that they are not harmful.
“We don’t want to go beyond the state law,” Johnson said. She said the purpose of the ordinance is to regulate and prohibit indoor use of smoking.
Glencoe resident Doug Krueger, commissioner-elect for District 2, spoke about his concerns with more government control, and felt the argument about kids’ perception of smoking isn’t valid.
“They (e-cigarettes) are not proved to be harmful at this time. How can you ban something that’s not harmful, and based on perception?” Krueger asked.

For more, see the Nov. 26 print edition of The Chronicle.