Weber County looks at legality of selling e-cigarettes at the fair

May 19 2012 - 11:15pm

OGDEN -- County officials are examining the legality of selling e-cigarettes at the fair.

A vendor applied to sell electronic cigarettes at the 2012 Weber County Fair, but the Fair Advisory Board wanted to know if it conflicted with current rules prohibiting the sale of tobacco products at the event.

Board chairman Mike Mathieu said the board sent the issue to the Weber County Attorney's Office to be reviewed.

"We don't know if it applies or not, or if it is related," Mathieu said.

Unlike normal tobacco cigarettes, pipes or cigars, an e-cigarette user inhales nicotine vapors, which is for the most part odorless to those around.

Also, Mathieu said there is no ignition point on the devices, so the devices have less risk of fire hazard.

If it turns out that the fair can't sell e-cigarettes, it should not affect the fair's bottom line.

"They haven't sold there in the past so it's not something that if we took it out of the fair it would have an economic impact," Mathieu said.

If the vendor is allowed to sell e-cigarettes at the fair, the board also wants to know where the devices will be permitted to be used.

Tobacco products must currently be used in designated smoking area.

However, e-cigarettes do not produce the same odors and smoke as regular tobacco products and therefore many people find the products inoffensive.

Mathieu said he knows that odorless and colorless does not mean safe, giving the example of carbon monoxide, so the board may also ask the Weber-Morgan Health Department to weigh in on the issue.

Before it gets that far, the issue may be decided by a law passed during the 2012 Utah legislative session, which went into effect May 8, expanded the definition of smoking in the Utah Indoor Clean Air Act to include e-cigarettes and hookahs.

The board hopes to see the findings during its next meeting on June 14. The board meets the second Thursday of every month.

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