By adding two words, "nicotine products," to a Dane County ordinance, minors will not be able to buy the newest smoking sensation: e-cigarettes.

The Dane County Board unanimously passed an amendment on Jan. 23 to the county's ordinance forbidding the sale of tobacco to anyone under 18 to now include the sale of nicotine products.

An e-cigarette, or electronic cigarette, is a device that turns formulated liquid into a vapor when the user inhales, with the vapor coming in various flavors and usually containing nicotine.

"Banning the sale of e-cigarettes to youth illustrates the county's commitment to ensuring the health of our youth and the health of our future," said Janel Heinrich, director of Public Health Madison and Dane County, in a news release.

Retailers who violate the ordinance, including the new ban on selling e-cigarettes to minors, can face fines up to $500 and temporary suspension of their retail license.

Minors in possession of nicotine products could get fined up to $25.

The federal Food and Drug Administration so far has enacted no regulations on e-cigarettes, such as limits on flavors, the amount of nicotine or advertising.


Bill Novak is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.