WHEELING – Wheeling-Ohio County Health Board members heard presentations Thursday about electronic cigarettes.
The presentations were made prior to the board starting a work session related to its proposed expansion of its existing countywide smoking ban.
Lorie McClung, who described herself as an electronic cigarette personal trainer, and Bill Godshall, Smokefree Pennsylvania executive director, both asked the board to consider not including e-cigarettes in its proposed expansion of the ban.
If approved, the expansion would treat e-cigarettes like real cigarettes, prohibiting their use in indoor public places and some outdoor areas. Both McClung and Godshall argued there is no proof that emissions from e-cigarettes are harmful, but a few board members were not convinced.
The e-cigarette industry opted not to have to prove their safety, said Dr. William Mercer, Wheeling-Ohio County health officer.
The board ultimately decided to leave language banning use of the devices in the proposed expansion.
“After 28 years of smoking … I hated it. I tried everything – gums, patches. … Nothing satisfied it – this does,” McClung said of her craving. “No one else is involved in this, just me.”
She said emissions from her device, which she called a personal vaporizer, are barely noticeable.
“I’ve been vaping all over the building,” McClung said, referring to the City-County Building where the meeting was held. “There is zero smoke. This vapor is not going anywhere, it’s going into me.”
The board is planning another work session at noon Sept. 13.
It was noted the board plans to eventually hold meetings with city and county officials, along with those representing businesses that would be impacted by the expansion of the ban. In its current form, the ban exempts video gambling areas in bars, at Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack and in stand-alone video gambling parlors.