WEST OLIVE, Mich. — Ottawa County is considering banning vaping inside all public places and private worksites. 

Officials crafted new rules that add vaping to an existing smoking ordinance in the county. The 2008 rules prohibit smoking in all public and private worksites excluding bars, restaurants, county parks, homes and tobacco specialty stores. 

As more data is gathered, it's clear that vaping is dangerous to a person's health, said Lisa Stefanovsky, an administrative public health officer at the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. 

"We don't ever put forward policy or regulation that we don't have substantial data that shows or demonstrates that there's a threat to health," Stefanovsky said. 

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The proposed rules were brought to the Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 8. They also prohibit using E-cigarettes in food establishments and within 25 feet of entrances and ventilation systems, Stefanovsky said.

"The aerosol you exhale after using a vaping product contains a lot of different chemicals," she said. "That nicotine product can be sucked into the building and distributed and, therefore, expose people to that secondhand smoke."

More than 2,500 people were hospitalized in 2019 in the U.S. for lung injuries associated with vaping, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were 55 confirmed deaths as of Dec. 27.  

A 2017 survey found more than 30 percent of young adults in Ottawa County have tried a vape product, and nearly half believe there is little-to-no risk associated with using them. 

"People really need to educate themselves about the dangers of these products," Stefanovsky said. "They can harm you. They have harmed people."

For more information on E-cigarettes, visit the CDC website

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