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Duluth approves ban on e-cigarettes

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The Duluth City Council voted Monday night to lump e-cigarettes into the same category as traditional cigarettes, prohibiting their use inside most establishments.

Councilor Jennifer Julsrud, who introduced three ordinances relating to the devices, is concerned chemicals in e-cigs could be harmful.

"I wrote these ordinances and I pushed for them because I want to protect kids, and I believe in supporting clean air,” Julsrud told the Duluth News Tribune.

The devices are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, but have not been approved. The agency says e-cigarettes have not been fully studied, so users have no way of knowing how much nicotine or chemicals are being inhaled.

Those against the ban say the devices have been a successful way for smokers to kick the habit. However, experts say e-cigs are not a healthy alternative.

"In my opinion nothing good can come of this behavior," Mike McAvoy, vice president of operations at Essentia Health, said in WDIO's report. "At the very worst it can lead to a lifetime of nicotine addiction."

Two other ordinances relating to e-cigs and tobacco use were also approved. Northland's NewsCenter reports one of them would require e-cigarette vendors to obtain a license to sell the products and the other prohibits sampling of all tobacco products in retail shops or hookah bars.

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