Benton County looks to regulate e-cigarettes

      CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Lawmakers in Benton County are hoping to impose regulations on e-cigarettes, primarily to ban sales to minors and limit where people can use the nicotine devices. The decision comes just two months after the City of Corvallis passed a similar ordinace.

      "The goal is to have similar ordinances across the board with regard to e-cigarettes and tobacco laws," said county spokesman Rick Osborn. "So we can have the same guidelines in the county that you do in the city."

      With little regulations on the federal level, local governments across the nation are creating their own regulations on increasingly popular nicotine products like e-cigarettes and vaporizers.

      Benton County Commissioners took their first step on Tuesday, creating proposed regulations that would ban e-cigarette sales to minors and put restrictions on where people can use them.

      Alexei Gorecki of local smoke shop Bad Habits said tobacco retailers have been expecting a push for regulations from the county.

      "We've had to deal with a lot of regulations before. It's kind of old hat now. We just have to alter a couple of little things, but it's about the same," said Gorecki.

      He said that most smoke shops already refuse to sell to minors, but adds that lawmakers need to be careful about the restricting the new product.

      Some current smokers switch to the new devices as a way to kick the old habit.

      "The common thing is that they are switching over to these new e-cigarettes to replace their traditional cigarettes, either to help them quit or have a healthier alternative," said Gorecki.

      A second reading and final vote on the regulations is scheduled for later in February.