There are common-sense reasons to regulate the use of e-cigarettes in our communities. One that stands out for me is the very same reason we no longer allow traditional smoking in public spaces — potentially hazardous chemicals that impact health.
Currently, we do not know the contents of the vapor emitted by e-cigarettes because there is no oversight of their manufacturing. We know their liquid contains varying levels of nicotine, but what else? Until the FDA takes a stand on this issue and more research is done, the users and bystanders in close proximity should both be weary of what they are inhaling.
Secondly, allowing e-cigarettes in spaces that have been tobacco-free since passage of the 2005 Beltrami County Smoke-Free Ordinance for Indoor Public Places creates a massive headache for enforcement. E-cigarettes can be purchased in many forms, but some are crafted to closely resemble traditional cigarettes. If we cannot tell the difference between the two, there is opportunity for smokers to violate the local ordinance and the Freedom to Breathe Act, which a majority of Minnesotans support and want protected.
E-cigarettes raise a lot of questions, but one thing is for sure: there are clear benefits to adding them to our indoor air laws.
Community Transformation Coordinator,
North Country Area