by Dennis Dalman
The sale and sampling of e-cigarettes will be allowed in Sartell, after all.
At the April 13 city-council meeting, members voted 4-1 to allow the vaporized “cigarettes” to be allowed in the city as part of Sartell’s tobacco-use ordinance.
Council member Amy Braig-Lindstrom told her fellow council members she had had a “change of heart” and decided to oppose the sale of e-cigarettes, saying the council and city should not vote for it because e-cigarettes might encourage some children to move on to regular cigarettes. Braig-Lindstrom said despite opposition to smoking in society, cigar-smoking is still considered OK by many people because cigars are often smoked at public events, such as golf courses, mostly by men who are well-to-do or have social standing. That attitude that some smoking is OK should not be extended to e-cigarettes, especially when the liquid for them comes in various flavors attractive to children, such as watermelon. E-cigarettes, she added, could be a gateway method to the use of other forms of tobacco.
The inclusion of e-cigarettes in Sartell’s tobacco-use ordinance is very much like the state’s regulations of them. The language of the ordinance was fine-tuned by Sartell Police Chief Jim Hughes, with council advice. Three months ago, the council debated the e-cigarette issue at length, and some people at the public hearing spoke against them, although there were also many vocal defenders of the devices.
E-cigarettes emit a vapor from an encapsulated liquid that can satisfy a smoker’s craving for nicotine. They are widely advocated as a way for regular cigarette smokers to wean themselves off the “habit” and stop smoking. Some detractors, however, claim e-cigarettes are also addictive and that second-hand fumes, like cigarette smoke, are not good for people.
Businesses that sell e-cigarettes in Sartell have to abide by all the restrictions that have long applied to the sale of any tobacco products, including compliance checks to make sure they are not sold to any minors.