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e-cigs banned from public places

Council passes e-cigarette ordinance

SOLON– If you’re somewhere in Solon where you can’t smoke a real cigarette, you now can’t use an e-cigarette either.
At a May 4 meeting, Solon City Council members passed the third and final reading of an ordinance banning alternative nicotine and vapor products from use in areas defined as smoke-free by the state.
The ordinance, introduced at an April 4 session, adopts Chapter 142D of the Code of Iowa, known as the “Smokefree Air Act,” and amended the law to include newer nicotine delivery systems.
The ordinance is similar to one done in Coralville a few years ago, treating electronic cigarettes the same as actual tobacco cigarettes, City Attorney Kevin Olson told council members.
“If you can’t smoke there under the state law, you also can’t use an e-cigarette under this ordinance under the city code,” Olson said.
The request for the new law came from the Johnson County Public Health Department, City Administrator Cami Rasmussen explained.
The public health department, represented by Health Educator Susan Vileta, was present for the April 4 meeting.
After Coralville, Iowa City and North Liberty all passed local measures regulating alternative products, Vileta said, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors sought to do the same.
She was asked by the board members to visit with the other municipalities in Johnson County to see if there was interest in joining the effort.
“Is this something you’d want to be included on, or are you interested in doing your own ordinance, or not, or what are you thinking?” Vileta said. “That’s kind of how we got here.”
In response to a question from Mayor pre tempore Mark Prentice, Vileta said the use of e-cigarettes is on the rise, especially with younger individuals.
“Unfortunately, very much on the increase,” she said, noting she had been contacted by the Solon school district seeking information to share with parents regarding a specific product, the Juul, which young people have been trying.
“Adults really don’t have a lot of information about these products, so how can we expect the sixth graders to not think that they’re safer with flavors like Fruit Loop, and Gummy Bear and Cinnamon Toast Crunch?” she asked. “And the marketing that says it’s just harmless water vapor?”
The county wants to create an environment where it’s not normal to be smoking anything in a public place, Vileta noted. “That’s kind of how this all came about as a public health issue.”
Council member Shawn Mercer questioned whether vaping serve as a gateway to smoking real cigarettes.
Vileta said a recent study confirmed such concerns.
Because both products contain nicotine, she said, an e-cigarette user could find themselves out of supply in a social setting with someone using real cigarettes.
“They’ve got a pack of Marlboros, and you need nicotine,” she said. “So yes, we are seeing some of that dual use.”
The new law bans both alternative nicotine and vapor products. Alternative nicotine means a product, not consisting of or containing tobacco, that provides for the ingestion into the body of nicotine, whether by chewing, absorbing, dissolving, inhaling, snorting or sniffing or by any other means.
Vapor products may or may not contain nicotine, but employ a heating element, power source, electronic circuit, or other electrical, chemical or mechanical means, regardless of shape or size, that can be used to produce vapor from a solution of other substance.
Excluded from both definitions were products regulated as a drug or device by the United States Food and Drug Administration under Chapter V, of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.