Corvallis has banned the sale of electronic cigarettes to those under the age of 18 and also has limited their use to the same venues that currently allow tobacco use.
E-cigarettes thus cannot be used in indoor workplaces and public places and within 10 feet of doors and windows or in parks.
The ordinance was passed Dec. 16 by the Corvallis City Council and took effect Dec. 26.
“As more research findings about e-cigarettes become available we are learning that smokeless doesn’t necessarily mean harmless,” said Corvallis City Manager Jim Patterson.
“Because e-cigarettes are designed to look like cigarettes, they also pose a problem to business owners and threaten effective enforcement of the Oregon smoke-free workplace law.”
E-cigarettes are relatively new to the market. The battery-powered devices provide inhaled doses of nicotine through a vaporized solution contained in cartridges inserted into the apparatus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, e-cigarette use nearly doubled among middle- and high-school students between 2011 and 2012.
E-cigarettes are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Chemicals known to cause cancer and birth defects have been identified in preliminary testing of first- and second-hand vapors from e-cigarettes, bringing up concerns about health effects of long-term inhalation of the vaporized solution as well as second-hand exposure.
“One of the concerns we have with e-cigarettes is that they may be a bridge product to youth nicotine addiction, said Bruce Thomson, Benton County health officer.
“Corvallis’ decision to prevent sales of e-cigarettes to children and the use of this product indoors sends a message to our kids that smoking is still not safe.”
The new ordinance will have a limited effect on Corvallis tobacco shops, where patrons must be 18 to be in the store.
“We card people when they come into our store,” said Brett Bowen of Tony’s Smoke Shop on Northwest Ninth Street.
Bowen said that his customer base for e-cigarettes consists mainly of “older smokers looking to replace other products.
“They are becoming a real favorite among Corvallis citizens. They do very well here.”
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