Diatribe: The Lack Of Clarity Regarding Smoking Bans And E-Cigarettes.
I sometimes joke that “It’s easy to quit smoking … I’ve done it lots of times.”
Anyone who has ever tried to kick the habit understands that it can be a very difficult addiction to overcome. In fact, there’s an entire industry devoted to smoking cessation programs and nicotine alternatives like chewing gums and time-released patches to aid smokers who want to stop. In the last couple of years, the popularity of electronic cigarettes, or eCigs, has added another weapon to the quitters’ arsenal of options.
An electronic cigarette is a battery powered device that looks like a cigarette or a cigar and uses a heating element to vaporize a liquid solution that sometimes contains a mixture of nicotine and flavorings and, generally, simulate actual cigarettes in their use and appearance.
This weekend I saw several people “smoking” electronic cigarettes in places where smoking is not allowed. I noticed that they attracted quite a bit of attention and I wondered how smoking bans applied to these devices. Are they permitted in restaurants? In office buildings? In schools? In airplane lavatories?
Up until recently, Blu eCigs claimed on its website that one of the benefits of the product was the fact that users could “smoke anywhere!” Interestingly, they’ve changed their website to say “smoke in many places where traditional cigarettes aren’t allowed!”
The Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, which represents the growing industry, claims that e-cigarette makers have been able to capture 10% to 14% of the forty-four million tobacco users in the United States … and they’re all confused.
Half seem to think that electronic cigarettes are cigarettes and should, thusly, be treated as any other cigarette and all non-smoking laws should apply.
“They do emit toxic chemicals into the environment. My opinion is that they’re dangerous – not as dangerous as conventional cigarettes – but that they’re dangerous. – Stanton Glantz, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco
Others believe that since there’s no fire there can’t be any smoke.
“E-cigarettes as a whole have no secondhand smoke. They don’t emit anything.” – Ray Story, CEO of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association
I find myself feeling that electronic cigarettes are still cigarettes. In my experience, the physical habits of smoking (holding the cigarette, the oral fixation, carrying them about, etc.) are just as difficult to overcome as the physical addiction if not more so.
What do you think?
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