Gov. Splits With Health Commissioner On E-Cigarettes – CBS Local

CBS Minnesota (con’t)

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) – Gov. Mark Dayton has broken with his Health Department commissioner over the extent of regulation needed on electronic cigarettes.

Dayton said that he is uncomfortable with legislative efforts to put e-cigarettes in the same category as conventional cigarettes when it comes to prohibition of use in public spaces. His comments published Wednesday directly contradict testimony from Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger.

Dayton says he would sign a bill to restrict children’s ability to buy e-cigarettes, but he would likely oppose proposed restrictions on their use indoors.

Dayton said the state came down hard on smokers last session, by raising state taxes on traditional cigarettes. He said banning e-cigs indoors would go “too far.”

In a Senate committee Monday, Ehlinger described the vapor-emitting devices as “a threat to the health of the public” that could undermine the state’s law barring tobacco use in public buildings and most businesses.

These developments come on the heels of a new study by researchers at the University of California San Francisco. They found electronic cigarettes won’t help smokers quit using traditional cigarettes.

Advocates of e-cigarettes have said the devices are becoming a popular alternative for smokers trying to quit. The electronic devices do not contain tobacco, but use a vapor filled with nicotine.

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