Smoking Ban Should Include E-Cigs

Of late, I have been amazed when I see people toking on their e-cigarettes. They hold them as if they were marijuana joints. They puff on them secretively with furtive glances. For health reasons, there remains an appropriate stigma on smoking in public. Rightfully so, the public has become aware of the carcinogenic effects of smoking. Therefore, the following excerpt from the AMA daily email, which notes that New York may soon ban e-cigarette smoking in public places, is welcome. I urge you to consider e-cigarettes to be just as hazardous as traditional forms of tobacco, despite the fact that there is no actual "smell." Obviously, there are differences between traditional tobacco products and the electronic counterparts. But make no mistake, these products are also addictive and carry a risk of cancer.

 

Excerpt as follows:

New York City considering adding e-cigarettes to current public smoking ban. New York City-area newspapers and one major wire source cover how yesterday, the New York City Council heard testimony on a proposal to add electronic cigarettes to the public smoking ban already in effect. The New York Times (12/5, A33, Hartocollis, Subscription Publication) features coverage of some of the “theatrical provocateurs” demonstrating the “innocuous” safety of the devices. The article notes that New York’s health commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley was hesitant to say if e-cigarettes are or are not as harmful as traditional cigarettes. According to the bill’s primary sponsor, Councilman James Gennaro, however, this is the time for the regulation. Explaining why the city should act now, Gennaro said, “I’m just not willing to wait for Big Tobacco to completely take over the electronic cigarette industry, and then you’ll get nothing out of Washington, because people are bought and paid for.” Furthermore, if the bill fails this month, the New York Times reports that “several of its strongest advocates...will be out of office,” putting the measure in jeopardy. The AP (12/4) report puts Dr. Farley more firmly on the side of regulation, noting that he did say, “Waiting to act could jeopardize the progress we’ve made in the last 12 years.”

Paul Dorio