Bismarck has joined the list of cities in North Dakota that have banned the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. Should other cities, including Minot, follow suit?
The Bismarck City Commission this past week banned selling or providing e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18, with violators facing a $500 fine. Minors caught using e-cigarettes would be subject to a $70 fine. Fargo already has a similar ordinance, and Williston officials are also considering banning the products' sale to minors.
E-cigarettes are not regulated by the federal government, but some states, including North Dakota, include them in indoor smoking bans. E-cigarettes are promoted as an odorless, vapor-producing substitute for tobacco cigarettes. Some solutions used in e-cigarettes do contain nicotine, and advocates of banning the products for minors argue that the products can still be addictive.
Supporters of e-cigarettes point out that the products can help smokers quit using tobacco, and while we believe that to be true, we see no harm in prohibiting the sales of e-cigarettes to minors, especially considering they can be used with solutions that contain nicotine.
Minot should follow the lead of other cities with an ordinace banning the sale or usage of electronic cigarettes by anyone under the age of 18.