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Huntsville wants e-cigarettes gone from government buildings, vehicles

The City of Huntsville wants to snuff out the use of electronic cigarettes by government employees.

Under an ordinance being introduced at tonight’s Huntsville City Council meeting, city workers would be prohibited from using e-cigarettes while inside any municipal building or vehicle. The ban would also apply to all forms of smokeless tobacco.

Huntsville employees were barred from smoking cigarettes in city buildings and vehicles in 2004.

Human Resources Director Byron Thomas said some city workers have turned to e-cigarettes – battery-operated devices containing a form of liquid nicotine that becomes a vapor when heated. Inhaling electronic cigarette vapor is known as “vaping.”

“We’ve started seeing it pop up in different departments and thought it would be best to go ahead and address it now,” Thomas told AL.com Thursday. “We want to make sure our workplace environment is always safe and healthy.”

While manufacturers claim e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to conventional cigarettes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing to ban their sale to minors and require warning labels as well as federal approval.

FDA officials said last year that because e-cigarettes have not been fully studied, consumers have no way of knowing how much nicotine or other chemicals they contain.

Huntsville’s proposed crackdown on e-cigarettes is expected to come up for a vote at the City Council’s Feb. 26 meeting.

Thomas said the city offers free tobacco-cessation classes to municipal employees that want to kick the habit.

By: Steve Doyle Source

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