(01/20/14) - The Genesee County Health Department has been asked to investigate electronic cigarettes. One county commissioner wonders if they should be banned from public settings.
As smoking has been restricted in more places, some have turned to electronic cigarettes. Commissioner Archie Bailey, (D) Flushing, is starting to think they could be hazardous to your health.
"We'd like to know what's in them and whether we should be concerned about them because a lot of people are," Bailey said.
Bailey has asked the county health department to research e-cigarettes and make some recommendations regulating their use.
"I'm an anti-tobacco company gorilla," Bailey said.
While technically it's not tobacco smoking, users have run into some problems.
"They tell more 'you can't smoke in here.' I told them it's an electronic cigarette. I've had people tell me you can't smoke that and all I do is ask them where the sign's at," said Corey Farmer, an employee at Wild Bill's Tobacco in Burton.
"I've been asked in several public places to refrain from using it. They say we know it's a vapor, but we don't allow that in here," said Frank Pohle of Flint.
E-cigarettes emit propylene glycol, which the FDA considers safe. The liquid being heated can have nicotine in it and is often scented or flavored.
"If I were to put some banana flavored e-liquid in my tank right now and vape it and blow it toward you, you might smell a little bit of banana," Farmer said.
Commissioner Bailey says a New York Times editorial opposes e-cigarettes. The Genesee County Health Department will take up the issue soon.
"We're not ready to ban anything or to restrict anything but we'd like to know what Canada and Sweden has outlawed them," Bailey said.
Seven states have already banned e-cigarettes in those locations where tobacco smoke is restricted.
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