Vaping Vs. Law
A new trend of the smoking culture, young and old is the introduction of vaporizers or vaping. These relatively new smoking devices are relatively unregulated as they fall between the categories of smoking and well breathing regular air.
E-cigarettes, or electronic cigarettes, are battery-powered devices that turn liquified nicotine and other combustibles into a vapor that the user then inhales. In fact a whole new subculture has been developed by young people who call themselves Vapers, or Vapes for short.
Retail sales of vaping technology and the assorted juices and interchangeable parts and pieces have tripled within recent years reaching into a million dollar industry.
While some states have imposed restrictions or bans on where e-cigaretts or e-cigars can be used, there currently is no federal law in place and the local laws and ordinances are murky at best. Many local bans and ordinances opposing e-cigarette or e-cigar use state that these devices should be banned wherever general smoking is prohibited.
Smoking bans are enacted to protect the public from the harm of secondhand smoke, but e-cigarettes have not been shown to cause harm to bystanders. In fact, all evidence to date shows that the low health risks associated with e-smoking is comparable to other smokeless nicotine products.
Let me provide some additional ammunition for those of you looking to defend a client from an onerous e-smoking ban:
- The low risks of e-tobacco is supported by research done by Dr. Siegel of Boston University, Dr. Eissenberg of Virginia Commonwealth, Dr Maciej L Goniewicz of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Dr. Laugesen of Health New Zealand, Dr. Igor Burstyn of Drexel University, and by the fact that the FDA testing, in spite of its press statement, failed to find harmful levels of carcinogens or toxic levels of any chemical in the vapor.
- A comprehensive review conducted by Dr. Igor Burstyn of Drexel University School of Public Health based on over 9,000 observations of e-cigarette liquid and vapor found “no apparent concern” for bystanders exposed to e-cigarette vapor, even under “worst case” assumptions about exposure.
- Electronic cigarette and cigar use is easy to distinguish from actual smoking. Although some e-cigarettes resemble real cigarettes, many do not. It is easy to tell when someone lights a cigarette from the smell of smoke. E-cigarette vapor is practically odorless, and generally any detectable odor is not unpleasant and smells nothing like smoke. Additionally, e-smoking users can decide whether to release any vapor (“discreet vaping”). With so little evidence of use, enforcing use bans on electronic cigarettes would be nearly impossible.
- Currently there is no California or federal law that restricts where people can use e-smoking accessories. Unless your local smoke-free law defines “smoking” to include e-cigarette or e-cigar use, the use of this product may be legal in places where smoking cigarettes is prohibited.