Contra Costa County -- Excuse me, sir, but you need to turn that cigarette off.

Contra Costans could hear that phrase under an ordinance introduced Tuesday banning the use of battery operated e-cigarettes everywhere traditional tobacco smoking is already prohibited. The nicotine delivery devices have the look and feel of a conventional cigarette but emit vapor rather than tobacco smoke.

Concord has already imposed a similar ban and if the board of supervisors adopts the regulation on April 9, e-smokers could not power their puffs up in parks or other public places in unincorporated communities.

E-cigarette vapor may pose a secondhand health hazard and permitting its use in nonsmoking areas is an enforcement problem and models poor behavior to young people, said Contra Costa County Public Health Director Wendel Brunner.

The proposal also mandates that e-cigarette retailers obtain a tobacco seller's license.

-- Lisa Vorderbrueggen



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