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City Council is likely to add liquid nicotine and e-cigarettes to its ordinance restricting the use of “tobacco products” and to amend its Clean Air Act to prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in places where conventional smoking is banned.

An e-cigarette, according to the proposed ordinance, is an electronic device composed of a mouthpiece, atomizer, battery and heating devise that “provides a gas derived from liquid nicotine that can be inhaled by a user simulating smoking.”

At present, the ordinance encompasses bidi cigarettes (tobacco wrapped in temburni or tendu leaf or any other similar leaf) and tobacco products (any substance containing tobacco leaf). Because of the health dangers posed by liquid nicotine, which is delivered in products called “e-cigarettes,” the City’s Health Department has proposed amending its tobacco ordinance to include e-cigarettes and prohibit their sales to persons under 18 years of age and within 150 feet of any public school except Park School and Rice Children’s Center.

Those schools were exempted in 2006 when City Council considered the distance requirement. During the July 17, 2006 Human Services Committee meeting, discussion centered around a store on Main Street whose economic interest at least one alderman was trying to protect. Another alderman said one of his constituents had said that since Park School and Rice Center serve “special-population” students who are not allowed to leave the school grounds unaccompanied by an adult, students at those schools who are under 18 years of age would typically not be going alone into that store. Thus in 2006 the distance ban was enacted for all public schools, with the exceptions of Rice Center and Park School.

The amended ordinance, if approved, would also require a license to sell liquid nicotine products and vending machines for e-cigarettes.