By JOY BROWN
Growing concerns from organizations such as the American Lung Association are prompting Findlay officials to consider adding electronic cigarettes to existing smoking regulations.
Dr. Stephen Mills, Findlay Health Department commissioner, has suggested City Council amend city laws to ban the use of electronic cigarettes in public places. The Health Department unanimously recommended the ban in January.
Council will be meeting informally to discuss the matter at 5 p.m. April 29.
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-operated devices that are shaped like the real thing, but contain a nicotine-based liquid that is vaporized and inhaled.
Amid company claims that they don’t pose the health risks of regular cigarettes, the use of e-cigarettes has risen sharply, particularly among teens and young adults.
According to National Tobacco Youth Survey results released in 2013, the percentage of high school students who reported ever using an e-cigarette rose from 4.7 percent in 2011 to 10 percent in 2012. Use also doubled among middle school students.
The study also found that 76.3 percent of middle and high school students who used e-cigarettes also smoked conventional cigarettes in the same period.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden called the findings “deeply troubling.”
“Nicotine is a highly-addictive drug. Many teens who start with e-cigarettes may be condemned to struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes,” Frieden said.
Conclusive evidence is lacking about the long-term health effects of electronic cigarette use.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said it intends to begin regulating the products, which would require content labeling, but has yet to do so.
Several cities, including Los Angeles, New York City, Boston and Chicago, have restricted use of the product in public places.
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