NEWS RELEASE: Ottawa County officials approve adding vaping to proposed revisions to the Regulation Eliminating Smoking in Public

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NEWS RELEASE  |  January 14, 2020
Contact: Kristina Wieghmink, Public Information Officer  |  Phone/Text 616-510-8523  

Ottawa County Adds Vaping to Smoking Regulations

On Tuesday, January 14, 2020, at the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners regular session, officials approved the Ottawa County Health and Human Services Committee's proposed revisions to the County Operations Ordinances (Article 4, Section 400.1.1 Smoking Regulations) to include vaping regulations on or within county property AND proposed revisions to the Ottawa County Regulation Eliminating Smoking in Public and Private Worksites and Public Places to also regulate vaping. Any individuals found in violation of the ordinance shall be guilty of an infraction, leading to a warning and fines. Click here for the proposed revisions (starting on page 113). 
"Numerous studies have found that tobacco and marijuana smoke are major contributors to indoor air pollution, and that breathing secondhand smoke is a cause of disease in healthy nonsmokers," said Health Officer Lisa Stefanovsky, Ottawa County Department of Public Health. "Secondhand smoke is a toxic air contaminant and exposure to secondhand smoke has serious health effects. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke."
Vaping is the act of using electronic smoking devices to deliver an inhaled dose of nicotine or other substances. Existing studies on electronic smoking device aerosol emissions and cartridge contents have found a number of substances known to cause cancer in humans, including formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, lead, nickel and chromium. Inconsistent labeling of specific components and nicotine levels in electronic smoking device products exacerbates this issue. Multiple studies have concluded that exposure after exhalation of aerosol from electronic smoking devices likely results in passive or secondhand and thirdhand exposure to product components. Click here for more information about the studies (starting on page 122).

Portions of the revised County Operations Ordinances Section 400.1.1 now read:

Smoking and Vaping Regulations on or within County Property

The intent of this Ordinance is to eliminate the health hazards of smoking and vaping to all individuals while working in or using buildings owned or leased by Ottawa County and on all County properties, except for its Parks. The adverse health effects of smoking and vapers to themselves and of so-called “secondary” or “passive” smoke and vapor to non-smokers are well documented by the medical community. Such adverse health effects threaten the general health and well-being of individuals and the effects of smoke and vapors in buildings, increase health care and insurance costs to the County, and decrease worker attendance and productivity.

The general irritation produced by secondary smoke and vapors causes frustration among workers and users of County buildings and property and generally interferes with the quality of life therein and the quality of the experience thereon. The smoking and vaping ban established in this Ordinance will eliminate the irritating and adverse effects of smoking and vaping thereby promoting productivity, health, and the quality of life within County buildings and in the outdoor areas of County properties, as well as lowering health care and insurance costs and avoiding allergic reactions or pulmonary or eye irritations.

Portions of the revised Ottawa County Regulation Eliminating Smoking in Public and Private Worksites and Public Places now read:

Ottawa County Clean Indoor Air Regulation

Ottawa County finds and declares that the purpose of this regulation is to protect the public health and welfare by regulating smoking and the use of any tobacco products in public places and places of employment and recreation. The revisions also provide the ability of the Sheriff's Office to enforce these regulations and for progressive penalties for people who violate the regulation. 

Smoking and use of any tobacco products shall be prohibited in all enclosed public and private worksites and public places, including near entrances, windows and ventilation systems within Ottawa County. Smoking is not regulated at private residences (except when used as a child care, health care facility or adult day care facility) or tobacco specialty stores.


Smoke means the gases, particles, vapors or aerosols released into the air as a result of combustion (to include heating), electrical ignition, vaporization or aerosolization, when the apparent or usual purpose of the combustion, electrical ignition, vaporization or aerosolization is human inhalation of the byproducts, except when the combusting, vaporizing or aerosolization material contains no tobacco, marijuana or nicotine and the purpose of inhalation is solely olfactory, such as smoke from incense or scented oil vaporizers. Smoke includes, but is not limited to tobacco smoke, electronic smoking device vapors/aerosols, and marijuana smoke.

Smoking means inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lighted cigar, cigarette, electronic cigarette, vaping, pipe, weed, plant or related substance or product.

Tobacco paraphernalia means any item designed for the consumption, use, or preparation of any tobacco product.

Tobacco product means any product containing, made or derived from marijuana (natural or synthetic), tobacco or nicotine, that is intended for human consumption, whether smoked, heated or inhaled including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos (miniature cigars), rolled tobacco, pipe tobacco; and any electronic smoking device.

Vaping is a Serious Health Threat

Health Advisory

Severe Lung Injury Associated with Electronic Cigarette Product Use or Vaping

cdc lung

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments, and other clinical and public health partners are investigating a national outbreak of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI). As of January 7, 2020, a total of 2,602 hospitalized EVALI cases or deaths have been reported to CDC from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and two U.S. territories (Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands). Fifty-seven deaths have been confirmed in 27 states and the District of Columbia (as of January 7, 2020).


The Ottawa County Department of Public Health and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recommend the following for the public:

  • People should not use THC-containing e-cigarette or vaping products, particularly from informal sources like friends, family or in-person or online sellers.
  • E-cigarette or vaping products should never be used by youths, young adults or women who are pregnant.
  • Individuals who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette or vaping products.
  • Vitamin E acetate should not be added to e-cigarette or vaping products.
  • Additionally, people should not add any other substances not intended by the manufacturer to products, including products purchased through retail establishments.
  • While it appears that vitamin E acetate is associated with EVALI, there are many different substances and product sources that are being investigated, and there may be more than one cause. Therefore, the best way for people to ensure that they are not at risk while the investigation continues is to consider refraining from the use of all e-cigarette or vaping products. Most EVALI cases in Michigan and nationwide reported vaping THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) alone or in combination with nicotine.
  • Adults who continue to use an e-cigarette or vaping products should carefully monitor themselves for symptoms, such as such as shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, fever and/or nausea and vomiting, and see a healthcare provider immediately if they develop symptoms like those reported in this outbreak.
  • Adults using e-cigarettes or vaping products as an alternative to cigarettes should not go back to smoking. They should weigh all available information and consider using FDA-approved cessation medications. They should contact their healthcare provider if they need help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are not FDA approved as a smoking cessation device.


Free help is available for individuals who are interested in quitting tobacco:

  • Michigan Quitline 1-800-QuitNow for adults
  • MyLifeMyQuit for youth 18 years and younger.