Public Input Meeting Held on E-Cigarette Ordinance

A public input meeting was held at the Story County Administration building in Nevada March 31st in order for the public to make comments concerning an ordinance prohibiting sales of e-cigarettes and other nicotine delivery systems to minors in Story County.

As currently written, the ordinance states that the county would prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes and any other product that simulates smoking to anyone under the age of 18.

The supervisors in attendance – Wayne Clinton, Paul Toot and Rick Sanders - agreed that the purpose and spirit of this ordinance is to do everything in their power to keep nicotine out of the hands of minors. Clinton and Sanders both expressed their wish that the state would decide on this issue for uniformity across Iowa to avoid any confusion among businesses with locations in multiple counties.

Most citizens who made a comment were in favor of the ordinance because some of these products contain just as much or more nicotine than a cigarette. One citizen asked why we need this ordinance as it is currently illegal to sell nicotine or tobacco products to minors.

Tim Gartin of the Ames City Council encouraged the supervisors to ‘proceed cautiously’ when dealing with issues such as these because in this case a city ordinance would trump an ordinance from the county.

Dr. Jay Brown of Ames’ McFarland Clinic encouraged the supervisors to use Story County ‘as a laboratory’ if necessary by adopting the ordinance in the hopes that the rest of the state would follow the county’s lead in prohibiting the sale of these products to minors. Brown mentioned that the famous Joe Camel character was designed for a focus group of five-year-olds and he believes this is just the latest gimmick by companies who sell nicotine and tobacco products to gain and keep customers.

No action was taken during the meeting. Another public input meeting will be held 7 p.m. Thursday April 3 at the Ames City Council Chambers.