County Bans E-Cigs for Kids

January 29, 2014
County Board Chair John Hendrick, 608.446.4842
County Board

The Dane County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an amendment to the County’s ordinance outlawing the sale of tobacco to minors to include “nicotine products,” effectively banning the use of electronic cigarettes and so-called “vaping,” or inhalation of vapors from electronic cigarettes, for anyone under 18 years of age.


“The smoking industry wants you to believe these e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to tobacco, yet the stuff you inhale is still laced with nicotine,” said Supervisor Maureen McCarville, a sponsor of the amendment. “Nicotine is an addictive substance. What’s worse, the manufacturers give the vapor sweet, candy-like flavors. Big tobacco has a long history of trying to use addiction as a weapon to turn children into lifelong customers. We can’t let this vaping trend become their new weapon. If an adult wants to inhale nicotine, that is his or her choice. But we have to keep this stuff out of the hands of children.”


“In our work to ensure that Dane County is a great place for everyone to live, learn, work and play, and be healthy, it is important that we make the healthy choice the easy choice for our youth,” said Janel Heinrich, director of Public Health of Madison and Dane County. “Banning the sale of e-cigarettes to youth illustrates the county’s commitment to ensuring the health of our youth and the health of our future.”


Electronic cigarettes turn specially formulated liquid into vapor which the user inhales. The vapor is flavored and usually contains nicotine. The Food and Drug Administration has not yet come to any conclusions on whether this practice is safe. Electronic cigarettes are not yet regulated, so there are no restrictions on the flavors of the vapors, the amount of nicotine in them, or the advertising of electronic cigarettes.


“It’s the nicotine version of the Wild Wild West -- no sheriff in town,” said Tobacco Free Columbia Dane County Coordinator Ryan Sheahan. “However it’s delivered, nicotine is an addictive substance and not appropriate for children.”


Retailers who violate the ordinance will face fines of up to $500 per offense in addition to temporary suspension of their retail license. Minors in possession of nicotine products could face fines up to $25.

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