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February 21, 2014

County mulls over nicotine usage

CLINTON — Clinton County Board of Supervisors are looking into the best way to address tobacco-free nicotine products, such as electronic cigarettes.

Jennifer Gerdes from the Area Substance Abuse Council attended the board's meeting Wednesday to address some of the new nicotine products. Last month, County Attorney Mike Wolf and the board discussed changing the policy banning tobacco products in county buildings.

Gerdes asked the county to consider making the county buildings a nicotine-free campus, as the ASAC has.

"It's amazing what people will follow, if you have the policy in place," Gerdes said.

She distributed a hand out on some new nicotine products, such as Camel Strips, Camel Orbs, Arivas and other products. She told the board that the look of these items can be confusing to people, especially children, referencing a recent incident where a Camanche child accidentally ate one of these products, thinking they were breath mints.

Gerdes said the child had to be rushed to the hospital and have her stomach pumped.

Sheriff Rick Lincoln and Building Maintenance Manager Corey Johnson did raise one concern about making the entire campus nicotine free, reminding the board that when the courthouse property was made tobacco free, it did designate a small area by the outside boiler building as the official smoking area.

Lincoln said this decision was made due to the stress placed upon witnesses, family and jurors members who may smoke.

Chairwoman Jill Davisson said that smokers visiting county property are welcome to smoke in their personal vehicles. Gerdes and Johnson said that at the hospital, people cannot even smoke in their car on its property.

"I don't have a problem if they sit in their own property (their cars) and do it," Davisson said.

Gerdes will provide the county with a sample policy for a March 10 discussion.

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