Alamance County Commissioners consider e-cig ban in county buildings

GRAHAM, N.C. -- Alamance County Commissioners will vote Monday night on whether to extend a ban on smoking cigarettes inside county buildings to also include electronic cigarettes.

County leaders said that when the smoking ban was initiated 2001, e-cigs did not yet exist.

Alamance County Health Department Director Stacie Saunders said she has recommended to commissioners that they include e-cigs in the ban, to get the law up to the times.

"What we're asking is that the existing smoke-free, tobacco-free resolution include the language 'e-cigarettes'," Saunders said. "That way there are clear standards and clear language that both the public and employees know."

Saunders said her board made the recommendation to commissioners with the health of the county's people in mind.

"We know that the liquid that's put into the e-cigarettes can be dangerous, particularly to children if ingested," she said. "So they do pose a health threat to those who inhabit our buildings and come for services."

County Manager Craig Honeycutt said he has personally witnessed people inside county building's smoking cigarettes, so there needs to be clarity in the law if that's banned or not.

"I think the popularity of them has really encouraged our Board of Health to take this stand," Honeycutt said. "This would be for inside all county owned and operated buildings. It'll apply to our courthouse, jail, human services building, our inspections building."

County Managers for Rockingham, Forsyth and Randolph Counties said their commissioners had not discussed a similar e-cig ban.

Davidson County Manager Robert Hyatt said its health department made a similar e-cig ban recommendation to County Commissioners a few months ago, but no formal action has been taken.

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