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Supervisors support youth vaping reduction strategies

By Heather Graves

BROWN COUNTY – County supervisors at the Wednesday, Dec. 18, meeting unanimously approved a resolution supporting strategies to reduce youth vaping, something supervisors say requires a cooperative effort.

As part of the resolution, the board requests the county, and local entities and municipalities within the county, update their definitions and strategies for smoke-free workplaces, public spaces and school district policies/ordinances to include vaping.

“We are trying to get information out to local leaders and state representative to look at the information and find out what the alternatives programs and other things there are to get people off the vaping,” said Vice Chair Thomas Lund.

Lund said vaping is a health crisis the county needs to take note of.

“A child right now can start smoking and they die of cancer in possibly 40, 50 years,” he said. “Someone can start vaping and get some kind of lung infection and die in a matter of months.”

The resolution also calls for the implementation of strategies to reduce youth access to flavored vaping products, as well as collaborating with local and state partners to curb vaping advertising and marketing toward youth.

District 7 Supervisor Bernie Erickson said the resolution doesn’t go far enough.

“These little feel-good things, that’s just what they are,” Erickson said. “They aren’t getting us anywhere.”

Erickson said he wants to see the county go further and have corporation counsel look into bringing up a class action suit against the vaping companies, similar to what the county did to address the opioid epidemic.

“Sometimes we pass resolutions that don’t have a lot of teeth,” Erickson said. “There are still so many ways that you can get this stuff. If we were to start a class action suit and have other counties joining in, I think we can start to put some teeth into this. Somebody has to start it and I think this is something we should look into.”

Erickson put in a late communication with staff to look into it following the Dec. 18 meeting.

It is unknown when this issue will be discussed further.

County approves architect hire for courthouse security

Supervisors approved the spending of up to $160,000 on an architectural firm to design the proposed courthouse security annex, which includes looking at alternative options with design and location both internal and external.

Supervisors said using an outside firm is meant to help reduce the overall $1.95 million projected cost, while still maintaining security needs and the historic aesthetics of the courthouse.

The spending was approved by the public safety committee and the administration committee prior to the making it to the full county board.

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