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County commissioners vote to ban use of electronic smoking devices in county-operated buildings

MASON, Mich. – Ingham County Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution to prohibit the use of electronic smoking devices in buildings owned or operated by Ingham County on Tuesday.

The ban is effective immediately. Although Michigan Public Health Code prohibits a person from smoking tobacco products in public places, it makes no mention of electronic smoking devices, which were relatively new products the last time state legislators amended the smoking statute.

“Research on the health effects of electronic smoking devices is still in its infancy, but we do know that they can promote nicotine addiction among young people,” said Chairperson Sarah Anthony. “Use of these devices in public places can also cause confusion in the general public about smoking regulations. It is sensible to keep electronic smoking devices out of the places where the county does business and serves residents.” 

The resolution was passed with the full support of the Ingham County Health Department.

Early research suggests that propylene glycol and glycerin, commonly found in the vapors, can create eye and respiratory irritation. The devices may also form carcinogens, such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, when e-liquids are heated.

“Because electronic smoking devices are so new, many of the rules and regulations concerning clean air do not address them,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail. “The early research strongly suggests potential harmful effects, and we are being proactive to protect people from secondhand exposure.”

The county defines an electronic smoking device as a noncombustible product designed to contain a vapor cartridge or containing nicotine or other substance that employs a heating element, power source, electronic circuit, or other electronic, chemical, or mechanical means, regardless of shape or size, that can be used to produce vapor from nicotine or other substance in a solution or other form. Electronic smoking devices include electronic cigarettes, electronic cigars, electronic cigarillos, electronic pipes, or similar products or devices.