Davis health board drafts e-cigarettes regulations

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 2:36 PM

Bryon Saxton, Standard-Examiner Staff

CLEARFIELD — Childproof caps and a $250 annual health permit fee for manufacturing e-cigarettes are just part of the proposed regulations the Davis County health board has in store for makers and users of electronic smoking devices.

The board will host a public hearing in the near future on a proposed “electronic smoking device regulation” in response to the proliferation of e-cigarettes and e-liquid samples.

An exact date and time for the hearing has not yet been announced, but the board on Tuesday named as its public hearing officer Dr. Gary Alexander, current board chairman.

“It will have to be done before the February meeting. I expect it will be in December,” County Health Director Lewis R. Garrett said.

The purpose of the regulation is to protect the public health, safety, and welfare of residents and employees by establishing practices and provisions for the safe preparation, handling and sale of substances used in e-cigarettes in Davis County.

There is nothing currently on the books regulating the devices, outside a state statute addressing the use of e-cigarettes as it relates to the Utah Clean Air Indoor Act, Garrett said. The hope is, ultimately the state will provide a standard set of requirements, he said.

The Davis health board is concerned the ingredients in e-cigarettes be clearly and accurately labeled, and the e-liquid kept in containers with childproof, tamper-resistant, leak-proof caps, Garrett said.

Nicotine in liquid form can be absorbed through the skin, he said.

“I want to make sure that if you buy the e-juice, it is accurately labeled,” Garrett said. Where there are several establishments within the county that are already mixing their own e-juice, he said, the department also wants to ensure proper sanitation measures are being followed where the product is ingested.

“There is a school of thought that exists that (e-cigarettes) are certainly less harmful than tobacco smoking, and some people may be able to use these products to reduce their smoking habit,” Garrett said. But public health officials do not want to see children begin using the devices in thinking they are not harmful, he said.

The health department is wanting to protect minors and children, Garrett said. “That is what we are aiming at.”

The board is not trying to limit adult access to the products or be overly burdensome with it regulation, Garrett said. Where the health department has been working with industry representatives in creating its proposed regulation, he said, it is unlikely the board will see any type of push back at the hearing.

The proposal says the selling of e-liquid to any person under 19 is prohibited, and all retailers shall have policies and procedures on preventing youth access to e-cigarettes and e-liquid.

The new regulation will also require any e-liquid manufacturing facility within Davis County obtain an e-cigarettes and e-liquids operating permit from the health department.

Any person found guilty of violating the provisions of the proposed regulation would be guilty of a class B misdemeanor. But more likely, those found violating the regulations would receive a warning on a first-time offense, while repeat offenders could have their business license to operate revoked, Garrett said.

The regulations if adopted will also prevent retailer websites, social media pages, or in-store advertisements from making any health or therapeutic claims such as e-cigarettes and-or use of e-liquids are a healthy alternative to smoking.

Contact reporter Bryon Saxton at 801-625-4244 or bsaxton@standard.net, or follow him on Twitter at @BryonSaxton.

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