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Published September 10, 2013, 08:38 AM

Duluth restricts e-cigarettes, bans hookah bars

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — The Duluth City Council has voted to ban hookah bars and restrict the use of electronic cigarettes.

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — The Duluth City Council has voted to ban hookah bars and restrict the use of electronic cigarettes.

Despite concerns about driving business out of the city and intruding on residents' lives, the council adopted a series of anti-smoking ordinances Monday night.

People smoking electronic cigarettes will be subject to the same restrictions as those who use regular cigarettes. Another new local law prevents businesses that feature water pipe smoking, or hookahs, from locating in the city.

Council member Jay Fosle opposed the ordinances, saying there were greater concerns that needed to be addressed.

"What we should really be concerned about is the use of heroin and ecstasy," Fosle said.

He noted that businesses and properties already have the right to ban use of e-cigarettes, saying: "We're going against businesses that would bring more money onto our tax rolls."

But Councilor Jennifer Julsrud, who introduced the ordinances, said they were necessary.

"I wrote these ordinances and I pushed for them because I want to protect kids, and I believe in supporting clean air," she said.

Council member Sharla Gardner supported many of the restrictions, but not one that would prevent patrons of smoke shops from testing e-cigarettes.

"I'm really not OK with banning something or demonizing it when everyone agrees all the science isn't in on this," Gardner said.

Gardner said e-cigarettes have been a helpful tool in helping wean some people off yet more dangerous conventional cigarettes, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

"I certainly don't want to be harming people's efforts to quit," she said.

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