Health board unanimously approves e-cigarette regulations in Pierce County

The Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health unanimously approved new e-cigarette and vaping regulations Nov. 18.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health unanimously approved new e-cigarette and vaping regulations Nov. 18.

The goal of these new regulations is to limit e-cigarette use by minors and to protect the public from second-hand smoke exposure, according to a press release from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

Starting Jan 1, 2016, the use of e-cigarettes in public places or places of work will be prohibited. Originally, bans on e-cigarettes and other vaping devices in the workplace were optional and up to the discretion of the employer.

The original regulations prohibited sampling in e-cigarette retail stores, but the Board of Health passed an amendment allowing sampling if the retail meets a myriad of conditions, including; the retial store exclusively sells e-cigarette and vaping products; the retial store has an adequate ventilation system; the customer is over 18 years of age; and the samples are nicotine-free.

Additionally, minors will be prohibited from possessing vapor products. This is in addition to current regulations passed in 2011 which prohibit selling e-cigarettes and vapor products to minors.

Vapor stores will be required to have an annual permit to allow them to sell vaping products. These permits will cost approximately $375.

Stores that wish to provide samples to customers will pay approximately $200 more for the license, plus lab costs for random e-cigarette juice testing.

Finally, child resistant packaging will be required for e-cigarette liquid, a product that contains liquid nicotine in various concentrations.

Is second-hand vapor harmful?

Whether or not second-hand vapor is harmful to people who breathe it is still hotly debated.

The nonsmoking group Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights claim the vapor released from e-cigarettes is not benign, while Vape About It, a website that advocates the use of vaping, has quoted a study that claims second-hand vapor is less harmful than a normal exhale of air.

One study shows e-cigarette vapor contains various toxic and carcinogenic chemicals, but the chemicals found in e-cigarette vapor are at levels between 9 and 450 times lower than in traditional cigarette smoke, which could mean e-cigarette use may “substantially reduce exposure to selected tobacco-specific toxicants,” the study reads.

Another study measured the amount of metals found in second-hand vapor, with the hypothesis that the metals are derived from various components of the vapor device. This study found second-hand vapor contained particles tin, silver, nickel, aluminum, silicate and chromium in various sizes, and the concentration of the majority of these metals are at levels higher in second-hand vapor than in traditional cigarette smoke.

“Many of the elements identified in EC (e-cigarette) aerosol are known to cause respiratory distress and disease,” the study wrote, concluding there needs to be improved quality control in vaping products.

Although the potential dangers of second-hand vapor are still being studied, the majority of studies seem to agree that second-hand vapor is less harmful overall than second-hand smoke.

 

More in News

Wilbanks wins close Buckley race

It took a month, but Luke Wilbanks finally knows he’ll be occupying a seat on the Buckley City Council.

Pierce County burn ban lifted | Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Update

The weather may be getting colder, but burn bans have been called for multiple counties due to deteriorating air quality.

Scammers posing as the State Supreme Court Clerk | Office of the Attorney General

Scammers are posing as the Washington State Supreme Court Clerk to call Washingtonians to demand money and threaten arrest. The fraudulent calls have so far targeted individuals with Hispanic last names.

Enumclaw’s Van Hulse to compete in national music showcase

Erik Van Hulse, who also goes by his stage name Siboh Nisoh, has been working toward this big break for almost as long as he can remember.

Taxing district was independent, now part of city government

In a move that was philosophically opposed by a pair of council members, the city of Enumclaw has taken control of the local Transportation Benefit District. The move may not be noticeable to the general public, as the collection and distribution of money should be unchanged. Also, the people controlling the dollars and cents remain the same.

Kiwanis honor four as Students of the Month

Members of the Buckley Kiwanis Club honored a trio of “Students of the Month” during an Nov. 16 gathering.

Pepper addresses ‘false’ recall charges in community meeting

The meeting, held at the Black Diamond library, was a chance for voters to have “an opportunity to hear from both sides before they decide to sign,” the recall petition, Pepper wrote in an announcement for the meeting.

Buckley Council race gets recount; results due Dec. 6

The closest general election outcome in Pierce County was found in Buckley, where a razor-thin difference in a City Council race forced a recount by the Pierce County Elections Department.

Most Read