The Beltrami County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing on Tuesday regarding a proposed change to the county's tobacco ordinance that would regulate the use of so-called electronic cigarettes.
The most controversial part of the ammendment would place a ban on sampling tobacco products, including the liquids used in e-cigs, even in stores devoted primarily to those products.
Eighteen people spoke at the hearing, including Matt Bewley, the owner of Northern Vapes in downtown Bemidji.†Bewley told the commissioners that such a ban on sampling would essetially, "cripple my business."
Proponents of the ordinance including a representative from the American Lung Association also spoke at the meeting.
The board passed the ordinance on a 3-2 vote with commissioners Lucachick and Sumner voting against.†It was the second reading; the third and final reading is scheduled for the next meeting after which it would become law.