Changes made to city tobacco ordinance

Contributing Writer

Two changes have been made to the city of Coon Rapids’ tobacco ordinance.

The Coon Rapids City Council March 2 adopted the ordinance which adds language to include electronic delivery devices and a new manager provision.

A third proposal that would have banned smoking indoors at retail tobacco establishments was removed at council direction following a work session last year when people objected to that language.

City Attorney David Brodie said that the state’s Clean Air Act does not prohibit smoking e-cigarettes in public places unless specifically restricted – unlike tobacco products.

But resident LeeAnn Mortensen said e-cigarettes, which are popular among young people, are a health issue whose effects on people are unknown at this time.

Not banning the smoking of e-cigarettes at retail tobacco businesses was “taking a step backwards” from the Clean Air Act, she said.

Council Member Wade Demmer said an online check showed 101 studies taking place right now on e-cigarettes, but it’s going to be a while before the results are known.

According to City Clerk Joan Lenzmeier, stores selling electronic delivery devices has fallen under the existing ordinance provisions in order to obtain licenses from the city.

Under the ordinance change, electronic delivery device means “any product containing or delivering nicotine, lobelia or any other substance intended for human consumption that can be used by a person to simulate smoking in the delivery of nicotine or any other substance through inhalation of vapor from the product.”

Electronic delivery device includes any component part of such a product whether or not it is sold separately, but it does not include any product that has been approved or certified by the United States Food and Drug Administration for legal sales for use in tobacco cessation treatment or other medical purposes and is being marketed and sold solely for that approved purchase, the new language states.

Inclusion of a new manager provision merely puts in writing the city’s existing practice for tobacco license holders when they hire a person to run the operation, Lenzmeier said.

Under the ordinance change, the city lists six requirements for a tobacco license holder when a new manager is placed in charge of the sale of tobacco or tobacco-related products and for every change in the future.

This includes the requirement that within 14 days the licensee must submit to the city clerk an application for a new manager on a form provided by the city and includes payment of a investigation fee.

There are 48 tobacco license holders in Coon Rapids and all were notified that the ordinance was being considered for adoption at the council’s March 2 meeting.

Prior to the meeting, she had received no comments from license holders, Lenzmeier said.