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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch
  • E-cigarettes spark conversation in SE

  • Electronic cigarette use should be banned in indoor public places in Sleepy Eye — every place that smoking is banned — the Sleepy Eye City Council decided Tuesday night.
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  • Electronic cigarette use should be banned in indoor public places in Sleepy Eye — every place that smoking is banned — the Sleepy Eye City Council decided Tuesday night.
     
    Now the city is wrestling with the issue of how to regulate electronic cigarettes — battery-powered devices that resemble tobacco cigarettes but deliver a nicotine hit by inhaling vapor rather than smoke. Some are nicotine-free.
     
    E-cigarettes come in a variety of flavors, ranging from gummy bears to cotton candy to Mt. Dew. Some deliver lobelia, an herb that has similar properties to nicotine.
    According to Ann Christensen, tobacco program manager for the American Lung Association in Minnesota, while many people have yet to use e-cigarettes—let alone know what they are — the numbers are growing.
     
    Christensen said public health surveillance of the product is warranted since it’s unclear whether e-cigarettes can hurt users or other’s breathing in the vapors, or, help smokers kick the habit.
     
    In Mankato Monday night a ban, which will begin in a little more than a month, was passed on a 6-1 vote to treat the devices exactly in the same way as traditional cigarettes, cigars and other forms of smoked tobacco.
    Christensen said that the products are not currently regulated so no one is sure of the amount of nicotine, if any, is contained in the products being marketed and sold for these electronic sensation devices.
    Communities including Duluth, Mankato, North Mankato, Rochester, Ely, St. Peter and Hermantown have already passed ordinances that include e-cigarettes in the 2007 Clean Indoor Air Act.
     
    The council called for a first reading of the ordinance to ban smoking indoors of e-cigarettes. More information and the second reading will take place at the February meeting.

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