Prosser could follow in Pasco's footsteps by placing some restrictions on electronic cigarettes.
The Prosser City Council will discuss Pasco's rules during a workshop Oct. 7. Mayor Paul Warden said action won't be taken during the session but could come at a future meeting, depending on the council's direction.
Pasco's ordinance, approved in May, bans using e-cigarettes in buildings and vehicles open to the public, as well as workplaces -- just like tobacco cigarettes. It also prohibits their sale to minors.
The ordinance also bans smoking in parts of public parks within 25 feet of playgrounds, shelters, pools and splash pads -- going further than the 2005 voter-approved state law that prohibits smoking in public places.
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Warden wants his city council to discuss e-cigarettes, noting it appears "they aren't completely harmless as advertised," he said.
Grant County also has restrictions in place. The Grant County Board of Health last month adopted an ordinance banning use of e-cigarettes in public places, with an exception for "vape shops" that exclusively sell the products and don't allow minors. The ordinances also bans sales to minors.
Jefferson Ketchel, administrator of the Grant County Health District, said e-cigarettes have the potential to re-normalize the public use of nicotine after years of efforts to reduce the rate of tobacco use and youth access.
"The fact that many e-cigarette companies are owned by Big Tobacco concerns me," Ketchel told the Herald, adding that many of the marketing tactics are similar, including sleek design and child-friendly flavors.
The Benton-Franklin Board of Health recently discussed e-cigarettes and is looking at strengthening regulations to limit access by minors, said Dr. Amy Person, health officer for the Benton-Franklin Health District.
The Prosser City Council workshop starts at 7 p.m. at city hall, 601 Seventh St.
-- Sara Schilling: 509-582-1529; email@example.com; Twitter: @saraTCHerald