Politics & Government

Proposed rules would limit e-cigarette use and possession in Pierce County

A Seahawks fan lets out a puff of vapor as he walks outside CenturyLink Field before the Monday Night Football game against the Detroit Lions at in Seattle on Oct. 5.
A Seahawks fan lets out a puff of vapor as he walks outside CenturyLink Field before the Monday Night Football game against the Detroit Lions at in Seattle on Oct. 5. Staff photographer

Electronic cigarettes and related products would be regulated under a new set of rules to be considered Nov. 18 by the Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health.

Those new rules, which would apply just to Pierce County, would prohibit possession of e-cigarettes by youths under 18, prohibit the use of e-cigarettes and vaping products in public places and worksites, require retailers to have a permit to sell e-cigarettes in Pierce County and require child-proof packaging for e-cigarette liquids.

The proposed rules are the result of several months of investigations and public forums by the health board.

“Nicotine is addictive, and e-cigarettes are nicotine-delivery vehicles,” said Director of Health Dr. Anthony L-T Chen. “People who start using nicotine products when they are young are likely to become addicted for life, and tobacco companies are cultivating a sustainable market for their product.”

While the health effects of e-cigarettes have yet to be fully studied, they’ve become increasingly popular among youths.

Currently one in five Pierce County 10th-graders uses electronic cigarettes or vaping products – double the number of those who smoke cigarettes, according to the 2014 Healthy Youth Survey.

“Unfortunately, the state legislature failed to pass measures that would protect our youth from e-cigarettes, but our local Board of Health is not going to wait to protect our youth,” said Pierce County Council Member and Board of Health Vice Chair Rick Talbert. “We are concerned about the alarming rate at which youth are choosing to use nicotine delivery products and the potential impact on their health.”

The board will take public testimony on the proposed regulations beginning at 3 p.m. The Board of Health meeting will take place in the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Auditorium, 3629 S. D St. The body previously took testimony on the proposed rules at its Sept. 23 meeting. It also accepted comments through Oct. 19 via e-mail and regular mail.

John Gillie: 253-597-8663

john.gillie@thenewstribune.com

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