- Associated Press - Thursday, February 19, 2015

HERNANDO, Miss. (AP) - DeSoto County supervisors will hear from the public March 16 on a proposed ban on electronic cigarettes in county buildings.

The Commercial Appeal reports (https://bit.ly/1AK424E ) the proposed e-cigarette policy would affect the public as well as county employees, and would extend the ban to within 10 feet of any county building doorway.

“People have complained about e-cigarettes; people have allergies and asthma, and we want to be sensitive to that,” Supervisor Lee Caldwell of Nesbit said Wednesday.

Board counsel Tony Nowak said proposed language may be merged with the current ban on tobacco smoking. An opinion last year from the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office said DeSoto County can prohibit e-cigarettes.

“They were once thought of as a deterrent to regular cigarettes, now they’re seen as an alternative,” said Supervisor Mark Gardner of Southaven.

The proposed ordinance notes that recent Food and Drug Administration tests of e-cigarette samples from two makers showed “not only nicotine but also detectable levels of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals, including tobacco-specific nitrosamines and diethylene glycol, a toxic chemical used in antifreeze.”

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the board of supervisors delayed consideration of a social media policy for employees.

County Administrator Vanessa Lynchard said the social media rules under review are meant “to protect county employees and ensure consistency” when incorporating Twitter, Facebook and such into departmental missions.

“We want to make sure personal views don’t get communicated as county views,” said Lynchard.

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Information from: The Commercial Appeal, https://www.commercialappeal.com


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