By ADAM RUSSELL, firstname.lastname@example.org
Smith County Commissioners Court members agreed to include electronic cigarettes to the list of tobacco products banned within and just outside county facilities. Further official action will be taken upon review and changes of the existing county smoking policy.
Judge Joel Baker said there had been increasing complaints and incidents involving electronic cigarettes and that a recent study indicating the second-hand dangers of the product prompted the action.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the liquid nicotine inside the battery-powered devices’ cartridge has caused injury to people’s eyes, skin and other body parts.
Baker and other commissioners agreed bringing the devices in line with its Smoke Free Policy, which bans smoking from all county facilities and vehicles, will make the rules consistent. The policy also requires smokers be at least 50 feet from all public entrances.
There was a report of a court bailiff taking a smoking device away from a juror recently, Baker said.
“We just needed to bring the policy in line with the traditional idea of smoking,” Baker said. “There might be health hazards associated with e-cigarettes and there’s also a respect factor when you’re talking about being in a county building and around the public.”