DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Durham County announced Tuesday that e-cigarettes will be included in the county’s smoking ban rules beginning in 2016.
E-cigarettes, also known as vapes, will be banned from city and county government property, including abutting sidewalks; city and county parks, trails, and athletic fields; and the Durham Station Transportation Center and city and county bus stops (including a 100 feet radius around every bus stop). Tobacco use is also prohibited at the Durham County Human Services building.
The Durham County Board of Health Smoking Rule was adopted in 2012.
The use of e-cigarettes by middle and high school students increased by more than 350 percent between 2011 and 2013, according to the N.C. Youth Tobacco Survey. Nationally, high school students in the U.S. who use e-cigarettes has increased from 660,000 to 2 million and from 120,000 to 450,000 for middle schoolers.
“We must protect the public from the harms caused by tobacco use, including e-cigarettes,” said Gayle Harris, director of the Durham County Department of Public Health. “Our top priority is to ensure that we provide expert due diligence to sustain the longevity of our residents. The aerosol generated by e-cigarettes is never comparable to clean air. Only clean air is clean air.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), e-cigarette exposure calls to poison centers increased from one per month in September 2010 to 215 per month in February 2014, and over half of those calls were regarding children ages 5 and under.
The Durham County Department of Public Health will hold a series of free smoking cessation classes on Wednesdays, Jan. 20 – Feb. 10 from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Classes will be held at 414 E. Main St. To register, call 919-560-7771 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.