MANDAN, N.D. --The Mandan City Commission on Tuesday approved the first reading of an ordinance that bans selling e-cigarettes to minors under the age 18. The vote was 4-0.
The Mandan ordinance prohibits providing or selling the products to minors, and minors cannot have or use them.
E-cigarettes include any electronic oral device with a heating element, battery or electronic circuit which provides vapor of nicotine or other substances to simulate smoking.
Violators can be fined up to $500 for the infraction, said City Administrator Jim Neubauer.
Police Chief Dennis Bullinger introduced the proposal.
There was no comment from commissioners who quickly moved the ordinance to a final vote on March 4.
After the meeting, Bullinger said he didn’t want to encourage Bismarck minors to come here to buy the product. “We live right across the river where that ordinance is in place,” he said. “If they were to use these for smoking, they’re going to come to Mandan to purchase it.”
He said he has been told the product can be addictive and there is potential health risk. Bullinger said he wasn’t contacted by any any anti tobacco groups to support the new law for Mandan.
He added that he wasn’t aware of a serious problem of minors obtaining the product in that city. “We don’t want our young people to be able to buy these products. ... It’s potential health problem and it’s something we needed to be proactive with it,” he said.
City Attorney Malcolm Brown said the ordinance simply amended the existing city tobacco law limits to include e-cigarettes and the same fines apply.
City Commissioner Sandra Tibke was absent.
The Bismarck City Commission approved the final vote on its e-cigarette ban for minors at its Feb. 11 meeting. Fargo approved a similar ordinance.