KINGMAN - Some Kingman businesses are including electronic cigarettes in their standard tobacco ban policies, which means not within 25 feet of a building - or at all.
The battery-operated devices deliver nicotine in vapor form. Their usability in places where tobacco use has been banned is a common selling point in commercial advertisements for the products.
But that doesn't have much stretch in places such as Kingman Regional Medical Center or Mohave Community College, which revised their tobacco policies to ban or restrict use of e-cigs without the presence of a law requiring them to do so.
Apparently the products were promoted heavily enough online and were too readily accessible to people under the age of 18, so the Arizona Legislature banned underage sale of electronic cigarettes in 2013, according to Arizona Department of Health Services.
Since that law went into effect, e-cigarettes have been included in the undercover tobacco inspections that the Attorney General's CounterStrike Program implements, and they say 75 percent of those inspections where youth requested only e-cigarettes or e-hookah resulted in a sale.
Some Arizona counties have reported rising incidents in nicotine poisoning - primarily very young, unsupervised children who consume large amounts of liquid nicotine used to refill the devices, which Department of Health Services says is sold in a wide range of flavors.
So far, Kingman Regional Medical Center's emergency room has seen nothing like that, according to Jamie Taylor, the hospital's spokeswoman.
"We are a tobacco-free campus, and we specifically include electronic cigarettes in that as well," said Taylor. "They're not able to use those on the campus, either."
Same goes for Mohave Community College within 25 feet of any building, according to this year's code of student conduct manual.
Furthermore, the college's policy prohibits use in partially enclosed areas such as walkways, courtyards and covered buildings, or outside stairways and landings.
"Electronic cigarettes were included; however, it was not a response to a state statute, so we chose to add electronic cigarettes into it," said Ana Masterson, dean of student services for the college. "Typically, anything with the student code of conduct, we look at disturbances that would impede the learning environment."
Mohave County has the highest adult smoking rate in the state, with 31 percent of adults reporting they smoke tobacco on a regular basis, according to Arizona's tobacco cessation program, Tobacco Free Arizona.
The Program Coordinator at the Mohave County Tobacco Use Prevention Program did not return calls or voice messages for comment.