Clark Co. Board of Health eyes e-cig ban in some public places

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- It's an interesting debate playing out in Clark County and across the country, with both sides arguing the same thing: a lack of research surrounding electronic cigarettes.

Wednesday, the Clark County Board of Health will look at outlawing e-cigarettes in public places where tobacco products are already banned.

Proponents say there is not enough evidence to prove that the vapor can be harmful to one's health, while those against using e-cigs in public spaces say there is not enough research to show that it isn't harmful.

The proposed move mirrors what some bars and restaurants area already doing. The owners of Main Event Sports Grill in Downtown Vancouver decided to ban all "vaping" in their restaurant a while back.

"We look at it as for the people that are non-smokers. Even though it's just a vapor, there's still something going into the air. We don't necessarily know what it is so we want to make everybody comfortable," Main Event manager and bartender Alyson Hilken told KATU News.

The response, Hilken says, has been positive.

"I appreciate the fact that they don't allow it in here," Vancouver resident Cadie Merchant said, while sitting bar-side at the sports bar and grill.

"The fact is I'm sitting here. I don't want that in my face. I didn't ask for it. I didn't choose to smoke it. So, I prefer it wasn't in my face," Merchant continued.

The Oregon Senate is also looking at a bill that would regulate where e-cigs and other nicotine vaporizing products can be used in public. The bill would also outlaw the sale of such devices to minors and change how they can be marketed and displayed in stores.

The proposed legislation comes at the same time new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study shows e-cig use has tripled in middle and high school students between 2013 and 2014.

Last month, Multnomah County Commissioners made it illegal to use e-cig devices in workplaces where smoking is already banned.

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