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Duluth considers e-cigarette ban

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As more and more communities across the state and country express concerns about the safety of electronic cigarettes, the city of Duluth is now considering a ban on the devices.

The Duluth News Tribune reports council members met at a committee of the whole Monday night to discuss a possible ordinance prohibiting e-cigarettes in the same places smoking traditional cigarettes is restricted.

Council Member Jennifer Julsrud cited medical experts concerns that chemicals in e-cigarettes could be harmful and said the city should get on the front line of public health.

However, some opponents say e-cigs have been a successful method to quit smoking and shouldn't be considered a public nuisance. They are also growing in popularity. Analysts estimate e-cigarette sales in the U.S. will reach $1 billion this year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The devices heat liquid containing nicotine to produce vapor. In addition to water, e-cigs typically contain vegetable glycerine, artificial flavoring and sometimes, propylene glycol, which is also found in asthma inhalers, according to the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association in a USA TODAY report.

Hennepin County implemented a ban on e-cigarettes in July because of the lack of input by the Food and Drug Administration on the health implications.

The FDA regulates e-cigarettes but hasn't approved them, the Los Angeles Times reports. The federal agency says the devices have not been fully studied, so consumers have no way of knowing how much nicotine or chemicals are being inhaled.

The Duluth News Tribune says the city council will take up the issue again at its agenda session meeting on Sept. 5.

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