The Bemidji City Council passed an amendment to its tobacco ordinance last night that would regulate and license the sale of electronic cigarettes.
The new version of the law, which goes into effect in about a month, requires that the devices must be sold according to the same restrictions that apply to tobacco, meaning they cannot be sold to minors and stores that sell them will be subject to compliance checks.
The amendment passed on a 4-3 vote with council members Thompson, Hellquist, and Erickson voting against the measure. Council members Olson, Johnson, and Meehlhause joined mayor Rita Alrecht in voting in favor of the ordinance.
The Beltrami County Board will hold a public hearing tonight on the issue of e-cigarettes, and unlike the City, the proposed new county rules would regulate how and where e-cigarettes can be used.