Duluth Councilors Approve Set of E-Cigarette Regulations

Posted at: 09/09/2013 10:14 PM | Updated at: 09/10/2013 12:59 AM

Duluth councilors passed regulations Monday night on electronic cigarette use in the city. It means the products will be viewed the same way as traditional tobacco cigarettes, according to Councilor Linda Krug.

The ordinances ban e-cigs where tobacco cigarettes aren't allowed and will be illegal to sell to anyone under the age of 18. They also ban sampling of the products in any store.

There was overwhelming public support for the regulations. At the city council meeting, 13 people spoke and 10 backed the proposals.

"In my opinion nothing good can come of this behavior," said Mike McAvoy, the vice president of operations at Essentia Health. "At the very least it can lead to a personal habit that affect no one. At the very worst it can lead to a lifetime of nicotine addiction."

After McAvoy left the podium, College of St. Scholastica Wellness Coordinator Julie Fountaine said "e-cigarettes have not been proven safe. What has been shown is that they normalize and glamorize the behavior of smoking."

One of three people speaking against the ordinances was William Rees, of Duluth. The traditional tobacco cigarette and e-cig user told councilors "if you regulate e-cigarettes you should regulate perfume."

He asked councilors why e-cigs should be regulated like tobacco when they don't contain the ingredient and don't emit smoke or a smell. "The advocates and supporters of these ordinances should be ashamed of themselves," he said.

Ahead of the ordinance votes, councilors shot down an amendment to the sampling ordinance pitched by Councilor Garry Krause. He said it would have allowed sampling at businesses where e-cigarettes and accessories account for at least 80% of sales.

Krause said "it would allow them to try different products before they walk out of the door and make sure their electronic item is actually working."

Krug reacted, saying "I'm opposed to that and I will be voting against it."

Krug did vote against it, along with five of her colleagues.

Ordinances passed take effect in 30 days.

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