Hennepin County bans e-cigs

The FDA hasn't weighed in on e-cigs yet, but Hennepin County has.
The FDA hasn't weighed in on e-cigs yet, but Hennepin County has.

:::: UPDATE :::: Rainbow Health Initiative comes out against e-cigs

A lot remains unknown about e-cigarettes, but there's one thing we can report with certainty -- Hennepin County workers and visitors will no longer be able to lawfully smoke them on county property.

SEE ALSO: Lung Association's Bob Moffitt looks forward to July, when cig taxes go up $1.60 per pack [INTERVIEW]

Hennepin is setting a precedent by banning e-cigarettes, the smokeless alternative to traditional cigarettes that have been gaining steam (or vapor) in recent years, especially since Minnesota's cigarette tax hike went into effect at the beginning of the month.

Hennepin County Administrator David Hough told Fox 9, "We've been proactive here."

"We want to make sure that our workforce and the residents, clients in the building are being protected," he said.

E-cigarette industry representatives claim e-cig vapor doesn't contain any secondhand carcinogens and therefore poses a negligible public health problem, but the CDC says more research is necessary before firm conclusions can be drawn. Furthermore, e-cigs do contain nicotine, which health experts say can be dangerous for people with circulatory issues.

Fox reports that Metro Transit is also preparing to update its smoking policy to prohibit e-cigs on buses and trains.

In any event, with increasingly-hard-to-smoke packs of old fashioned ciggies now usually costing more than $7 and e-cig smokers feeling the pinch as well, it's more difficult than ever to be a smoker in Minnesota.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]

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