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St. Anthony looks at e-cigarette code amendment
With the first reading of an amendment to city code Aug. 12., St. Anthony is on its way to making its regulation of electronic cigarettes official and permanent. The city already regulates e-cigarettes the same way as it does tobacco products.
The amendment will receive two more readings at consecutive meetings before the council can vote on it.
E-cigarettes are already treated like tobacco in St. Anthony due to a Nov. 13, 2013, moratorium placed on the devices and accessories, which, as explained by city manager Mark Casey, puts on hold “the creation, establishment or operation of businesses that sell electronic cigarettes,” and imposes the same age requirements and usage restrictions as tobacco.
According to Casey, the moratorium, which expires this November, was imposed to allow city staff time to research e-cigarette regulations.
Casey added that the city is looking at the amendment for three reasons: preserving public health, protecting young people and guarding against enforcement confusion.
The amendment to current city code including e-cigarettes in current tobacco regulations would put them under all the regulations of the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes in all indoor public spaces.
“Basically, for the public, it treats e-cigarettes just like tobacco cigarettes,” Mayor Jerry Faust explained. “The same requirements apply as far as age and where they can be utilized. It keeps a level playing field for all of our businesses and just basically, the bottom line, it treats it like other tobacco.”
The amendment will be read at the next two council meetings on Aug. 26 and Sept. 9 at 7 p.m.