Lawmakers blowing smoke on vaping

Posted 5/10/16

California state and local governments continue to try to crack down on e-cigarettes, or vaporizers, and regulate them like cigarettes, yet mounting data show that the devices are far safer to users — and those around them — and have been proven …

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Lawmakers blowing smoke on vaping

Posted

California state and local governments continue to try to crack down on e-cigarettes, or vaporizers, and regulate them like cigarettes, yet mounting data show that the devices are far safer to users — and those around them — and have been proven effective at providing smokers an alternative to help them quit or significantly reduce their tobacco smoking.

The latest evidence of this comes from the Royal College of Physicians, a respected British doctors’ group that helps establish medical standards in the country, which touted e-cigarettes as an effective means of quitting smoking.

While “[t]here are concerns that e-cigarettes will increase tobacco smoking by renormalizing the act of smoking, acting as a gateway to smoking in young people and being used for temporary, not permanent, abstinence from smoking,” the report noted, “[t]o date, there is no evidence that any of these processes is occurring to any significant degree in the U.K. Rather, the available evidence to date indicates that e-cigarettes are being used almost exclusively as safer alternatives to smoked tobacco, by confirmed smokers who are trying to reduce harm to themselves or others from smoking, or to quit smoking completely.”

The report, further, asserted that the long-term health hazards of vaping are “unlikely to exceed 5 percent of the harm from smoking tobacco” — in line with a 2013 study that found that “the levels of potentially toxic compounds in e-cigarette vapor are [nine-fold to] 450-fold lower than those in the smoke from conventional cigarettes” — and that “at the blood levels typically achieved by smoking, nicotine does not result in clinically significant short- or long-term harms.”

California nonetheless insists on regulating e-cigarettes as tobacco products — including subjecting them to the state’s smoke-free laws, which apply to workplaces, schools, restaurants and public buildings — despite the fact that they contain no tobacco and do not produce smoke. On Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed such a measure, SBX2-5, along with four of the five anti-smoking bills passed by the Legislature in early March.Given the benefits of e-cigarettes in helping people reduce and quit smoking, and the absence of evidence that they harm innocent bystanders, we lament that Gov. Brown and numerous local elected officials across the state and nation have failed to side with individual freedom and instead given in to nanny-state urges, unsubstantiated fears and misinformation.

— The Orange County Register