Mohave County includes e-cigs in county's smoking ban

E-cigarettes added to what's not allowed

An electronic cigarette. (Courtesy)

An electronic cigarette. (Courtesy)

KINGMAN - You'll have to snuff your e-cigarette before entering a public building after a change in Mohave County's no-smoking policy.

The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Monday to clarify county policy regarding "smoke free" facilities and change the wording to include e-cigarettes, which emit a water vapor instead of smoke.

Supervisor Steven Moss said he was having a "philosophical quandary" over banning e-cigarettes because there's no evidence of health and safety issues affecting the public. He cast the lone dissenting vote.

Moss corrected board chairwoman Hildy Angius when she said some e-cigarettes contain hemp or tobacco and have an odor that almost made her throw up when it was blown in her face. He said e-cigarettes contain a nicotine substitute, not tobacco.

"So it's not smoke that we're banning. We're then banning an odor. Then we should ban perfumes and colognes and those who don't bathe," Moss said.

Supervisor Buster Johnson wanted to know if the policy change applies to an entire county "campus" or just the buildings.

"I like rules that apply to all places, not just one place," he said.

For example, some Mohave County Sheriff's Department employees can't leave the campus during their shifts, so they have a designated smoking area outside.

"It was my intent to include all types of smoking, but not change where the restrictions apply," said County Administrator Michael Hendrix during the discussion.

Moss cited the county ordinance that specifically bans the use of "tobacco products" such as smokeless tobacco, or "chewing tobacco," and said even if it was changed to "nicotine products," he would still oppose the policy.

From a legislative standpoint, e-cigarettes are not widely banned from public places, but more businesses are enacting stricter policies. Despite negative public perception, more studies are suggesting that e-cigarettes may be useful tools for curbing smoking, thereby improving public health and safety.

In other action, the Board of Supervisors:

• Approved a transfer of $27,500 from the general fund contingency to cover general election overtime and temporary employees.

Mohave County Recorder Carol Meier said the funds were included in previous election year budgets, but were inadvertently left out this year due to an oversight on her part.

• Authorized an amended application for 2014 state Community Development Block Grant funds.

• Approved a standard employee housing agreement for Mohave County employees assigned to no-cost housing at Camp Davis and Hualapai Mountain Park for emergency response services.

• Approved abandonment of part of Katherine Drive 30 feet wide by 70 feet long, reserving existing utility infrastructure of a 20-foot wide easement, at Katherine Landing at Lake Mohave.