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Contra Costa County Supervisors Zap Use Of E-Cigarettes

MARTINEZ (KCBS)— Contra Costa County Supervisors took steps Tuesday in Martinez to short-circuit the use of electronic cigarettes, commonly called e-cigarettes.

Supervisors voted to amend the county's Secondhand Smoke Protections Ordinance. As a result, the battery-operated devices, which emit nicotine vapors, will no longer be permitted in places where smoking is prohibited within the county.

E-cigarettes come in a variety of flavors. Mary Jackadine of the Tobacco Prevention Coalition agrees with critics who have said they're marketed toward the youth. They deliver nicotine in the form of a vapor which is inhaled by the user.

Contra Costa County Supervisors Zap Use Of E-Cigarettes

County Public Health Director Dr. Wendell Brunner tried to demonstrate, smoking an e-cigarette in the board chamber.

"Under current county law it would be completely legal for me to take this out, fire it up right here in the board chambers and puff away, if I could figure out how to do it," Brunner said.

Board chair supervisor Federal Glover said they had to take this action.

"There is a perception that if we were not to do anything about this, that it's okay to smoke," said Glover.

The city of Concord already bans e-cigarettes in places where smoking is prohibited. No one spoke in opposition of the amendment to the county's anti-smoking ordinance.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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