Board to vote on banning e-cig sales to minors, extending workplace law

February 4, 2015

Julia Adebawo of Beaverton High School's “Rebels for a Cause” program.
Julia Adebawo of Beaverton High School's “Rebels for a Cause” program addresses the Board of Commissioners at the Jan. 27 public hearing on e-cigarettes.

On Thursday, Feb. 12, Multnomah County Board of Commissioners and the Board of Health will consider proposed regulations around e-cigarettes, vape pens and other “inhalant delivery systems.” Commissioners will consider an ordinance to:

  • Prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes and vaping in any Multnomah County place of employment where smoking is prohibited by amending the county’s Smoke-free Workplace law.
  • Prohibit the sale of inhalant delivery systems to people under age 18.
  • Prohibit the purchase of inhalant delivery systems by people under age 18.
  • Prohibit people under 18 from possessing inhalant delivery systems.
  • The Board of Health will indicate its support for the Board of Commissioners to consider licensing tobacco and inhalant delivery system retailers if the Legislature does not create a statewide licensing system during the 2015 session.

The public is invited to comment on the proposed actions on Thursday, Feb. 5, at 10:30 a.m. 501 S.E. Hawthorne, Portland, 97214. The public can also comment by Feb. 11, 2015.

The vote comes after three Health Department briefings in 2014 and a Jan. 27 public hearing on emerging issues around the inhalant devices. Among the concerns: use by Multnomah County 11th graders has almost tripled: from 1.8 percent in 2011 to 5.2 percent in 2013.  

The ingredients of unregulated cartridges, refill solutions, and aerosol sometimes include harmful or potentially harmful chemicals. And nicotine, a primary ingredient in most e-cigarettes, is highly addictive and is known to interfere with adolescent brain development and may predispose youth to future tobacco use.

“It is appalling that it is legal for kids to buy and use these products. E-cigarette use is skyrocketing, and, unless we act, a new generation of kids will grow up addicted to nicotine products,” said Chair Deborah Kafoury.