Harvey Co. Health Department talks e-cig regulation in work place

Harvey County Health Department is helping businesses interested in prohibiting e-cigarettes in the work place.

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NEWTON, Kan. --- As Overland Park becomes the first in Kansas to ban e-cigarettes in public places. This has other cities in Kansas talking about regulation. Last year in Newton High School banned e-cigs from its campus because students using the products in class. The Harvey County Health Department says they have businesses interested in possibly banning them in the work place.

As E-cigarettes rise in popularity, so does the talk of regulating them. Right now in Kansas it's legal to smoke indoors. That's why Harvey County Health Department is helping businesses as they decide to prohibit them in the work place.

"Any of them that are interested in adding e-cigarettes to their indoor bans we'll be helping them get their policies worked out," said Lorrie Kessler, Harvey County Health Department Chronic Disease Risk Reduction Coordinator.

A few businesses have expressed concern about the movement. "I think part of it is because they are concerned with the health of the people that are inhaling the vapors around them," said Kessler.

With Overland Park being the first in Kansas to ban vaping in public places, Kessler believes it could become a trend. "Just today world health organization came out with a recommendation that smoking e-cigs, or vaping e-cigarettes be banned indoors," Kessler said.

However, Patti Wachs, manger of the Big E's Vapor Store said, "when you go forward with a plan of action and ban these you're telling the people who are misinformed 'you are right, this is bad,' they're not going to give this a chance."

The Food and Drug Administration has not said if the steam is dangerous or what risks might be associated with it.

"E-cigarettes have not been fully studied, so consumers currently don’t know:

•the potential risks of e-cigarettes when used as intended,
•how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled during use, or
•whether there are any benefits associated with using these products.

Additionally, it is not known whether e-cigarettes may lead young people to try other tobacco products, including conventional cigarettes, which are known to cause disease and lead to premature death."

However Patti Wachs believes it's a safer alternative to smoking and believes there is a lot of fear surrounding e-cigs. She said, "there's so much else out there that's messing up the air. what you're getting from this is, this is a vapor, this is a water vapor."

There's no immediate from Newton or Harvey County officials to ban e-cigs completely. It's illegal in the state of Kansas to buy e-cigs if you are under 18 years old.

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