Scorning smokers

Tobacco crackdowns target e-cigarettes, despite their lack of secondhand dangers, raising questions about the basis of current bans

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E-cigarettes emit water vapors, not toxic secondhand smoke
SPENCER PLATT/GETTY IMAGES

news@sfbg.com

San Francisco officials are attempting to ban the public use of e-cigarettes under the same laws that restrict smoking cigarettes, which are banned in most public places purportedly because secondhand smoke endangers others. However, the alleged lack of toxic emissions from e-cigarette vapor raises questions about the basis for the crackdown.

Has the crusade against smoking in public really been about protecting the innocent, or is the moralistic motivation to try to save people from their own bad choices also driving the trend? And if so, does that undermine the legal basis for restricting an otherwise lawful product?

Since 2011, the San Francisco Department of Public Health has backed legislation to hold e-cigarettes under the same public smoking laws as traditional tobacco products. Currently, San Francisco's continually expanding smoke-free ordinance bans cigarette consumption in nearly any public place. This consists of Muni stops, festivals, parks, farmers' markets, non-smoking apartments and, unfortunately for all you nicotine-addicted bingo lovers, the obscure addition of "charity bingo games."

San Francisco has yet to pass any regulatory laws regarding e-cigarette consumption, or "vaping." But Nick Pagoulatos, a legislative aide to Sup. Eric Mar, a staunch sponsor of San Francisco's many anti-smoking policies, says a plan is in the works.

"Currently there is nothing on the books," Pagoulatos told the Bay Guardian. "But there has been discussion with the health department [which is] working something up and the Mayor's Office has been talking with them as well. The timing is unclear, but at some point it will happen."

California Senate Bill 648, approved in May and currently on its way to the California Assembly, would elevate similar e-cigarette regulations to a state level. So why are California and San Francisco pushing so hard to regulate these products?

"The suspicion is that allowing people to vape these things reinforces the culture of smoking," Pagoulatos said. "It continues in the tradition of making smoking look cool, even if it's not actual smoke."

Traditionally, San Francisco's smoking ordinances have derived from the hazards of secondhand smoke on innocent bystanders, but the regulation of e-cigarettes evokes an entirely new basis for public smoking laws.

California has an active history of anti-smoking legislation beginning in the 1990s when San Luis Obispo became the first city in the world to ban smoking in all public buildings. In 1998, the public smoking ban elevated to the state level, specifically because of the health risks posed to bar and restaurant employees by secondhand smoke. This year, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to extend the already strict non-smoking laws to cover festivals and street fairs and require landlords to designate their building units as smoking or non-smoking. Now, vapers in California face a similar threat.

 

VAPING ISN'T SMOKING

E-cigarettes contain a battery operated heating device that vaporizes a combination of nicotine and a binding liquid such as propylene glycol, a substance "generally recognized as safe" by the FDA. Since nicotine is not what kills smokers, e-cigarettes have the potential to exist as a safe alternative for smokers who can feed both the physical and mental habit of smoking without the detrimental effects of tar and the plethora of other chemicals found in traditional cigarettes.

However, conflicting studies exist regarding the safety of e-cigarettes for both users and the public. While the FDA has yet to regulate e-cigarettes, a 2009 evaluation reported the finding of numerous chemicals in e-cigarette liquid, such as those found in antifreeze.

Gregory Conley, legislative director for The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association, told us these reports are misleading.

Comments

In terms of workplace health and safety, reduction of exposure to the "lowest practical level" is often suggested. Why should a non-smoker be exposed to any unwanted nicotine exposure, when the e-cigarette user could simply step outside?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

Using your guideline we'd have to ban outdoor patio dining, since exposure to carcinogenic solar radiation is neither inherent nor necessary to the drinking or dining experiences. They can be carried on quite safely and successfully indoors. Do you support this risk reduction "to the lowest practical level"?

Same deal with exposure to the highly volatile fumes of Class A Carcinogen ethyl alcohol. There's no need for people to drink alcohol in places where people are trying to enjoy healthy food. If you want a Dom Perignon after your meal, fine. Just take out back by the dumpsters for a few quick gulps and then come back in and rejoin the healthy folks. Why should a non-drinker be exposed to any unwanted alcohol exposure when the drinkers could simply step outside? .... to use your own words. No problem.

- MJM

Posted by Michael J. McFadden on Jun. 20, 2013 @ 10:31 pm

These sound like wonderful ideas! Good luck with your implementation. Of course, you have the slight problem that a majority of folks like sunshine and don't seem to mind "alcohol fumes."

Posted by Guest on Jun. 23, 2013 @ 12:10 am

You know what gets me? Is that the ANTZ don't realize that Vapers are the hugest ANTI-Smoking group in history. The ANTZ are fighting the ANTI's. LOL Methinks somebody needs to change their lightbulbs to LED's.

ANTZ= Anti-tobacco zealots
ANTI's = Anti-smoking specialists

Posted by Uma on Jun. 15, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

The history behind the e cig is one of an alternative to regular cigs and was based on other methods long on the market to help smoking cessation as well as enable those who do smoke to do so in environments where actual cigarette use was prohibited. They have also been used as a very effective method to reduce and/or help smokers quit. I have been shocked by the virulent campaign to ban them by so many entities. Especially when exposure to the vapor is less harmful than many other toxins. Sitting on a plane next to a person chewing tobacco and spitting, or chewing a nicotine gum and having spittle spew into the surrounding area is far more harmful yet they are not banned. IMO the ban isn't based on science, rather is it based on two very controlling entities, the anti smoking groups (of which I have a photo of a high placed employee of the American Lung Assn in Cuba enjoying a cigar) and the pharmaceutical companies who are making prescription products that would swamp the market and are already FDA approved should e cigs be banned completely. And that I view as a problem. What will be interesting within this context is when pot becomes legal and accepted more readily if these same groups or those who are so apt to shun cigarette smokers yet will smoke a bowl on a regular basis. There are those who are allergic to it, it is still a toxin and just like alcohol causes imparement. I would almost bet that it becomes more accepted in a nano second rather than a harmless vapor from an e cigarette.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 16, 2013 @ 8:38 am
Posted by Guest Needle Dick on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 11:06 pm

A whore for Big Pharma

Posted by Orthodoxy sucks on Jun. 18, 2013 @ 3:04 pm

To be honest I don't smoke and I do not like people who smoke. This is spending of money and health,

Posted by http://essaymakers.co.uk/ on Jun. 18, 2013 @ 9:57 am

Essay wrote, "I do not like people who smoke."

That's ok Essay. I don't like people who advertise their essay-making websites in their user names in political discussions, so I guess we're even. Shall we pass a law against you?

- MJM

Posted by Michael J. McFadden on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 4:41 pm

Bullying of Americans by the Elite takes many forms.

Food you can`t eat, tobacco you can`t smoke, and open public discussion of mass immigration and "assimilation" only for white countries forbidden.

It`s criminal

Posted by Guest on Jun. 18, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

Sorry--if you are inhaling nicotine (even at 2%) then you are also exhaling some nicotine. No one else should be exposed to that in public areas that currently disallow smoking. If you are sitting next to me on a bus and exhale what you consider harmless vapor, I will ask you to stop. If you don't, you risk having the implement grabbed and tossed out the window or broken.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 18, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

so if you're sitting next to me drinking alcohol you better watch out. Same goes for caffeine drinkers - I don't want it in my body so we need to think about passing a few laws to restrict that too!

You need to be aware that it is assault to grab something from someone without their permission - as well as theft. You're going to end up in jail or with a broken nose if you don't change your attitude.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 18, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

Lucretia is correct. And the nicotine at low concentrations is harmless since it is a toxin, not a carcinogen. Toxins, by definition, become toxins only when they exceed a certain threshold of concentration and duration of exposure. Carcinogens, supposedly at least according to the Surgeon General, have "no safe level." Therefore Lucretia would be justified in acting in self defense if you tried to kill her with your martini.

- MJM

Posted by Michael J. McFadden on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

Darling, nicotine is absorbed into the body immediately, it doesn't blow back out.
Also, most vapers are polite and will not blow their vapor towards others. In fact half the people around you have been vaping without your noticing. Why haven't you noticed? They don't stink! They don't exhale clouds around other people. They don't bother anybody.
(always one exception to every rule, just like with anything, but that ONE exception is exactly that... an exception).
If you are still worried about things, a little bit of hearty research might come in handy.
Here's one to get you started: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23033998

Dr. Michael Seigel is a well respected Dr with tons of research and facts on his site. You might like to give his blog a read.
http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/

Posted by Uma on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 4:59 pm

Every White country on the planet is forced to become multicultural and multiracial.

EVERY white country is told to end its own race and culture.

No one asks that of ANY non-White country. Immigration and forced-assimilation is for ALL & ONLY White countries.

Anti-Whites call themselves "anti-racist", but their words & actions lead to the genocide of only one group: White people.

The true goal of anti-racism is to genocide my people.

Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-White.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 18, 2013 @ 5:40 pm

However, Mozambique is seeing a lot of immigration right now including from whites. Is Mozambique a "white country"?

Posted by Anti-Authoritarian on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 7:06 am

Well first off let me start by saying I'm a smoker I smoked cigs for long enough the e cig has given me my sense of taste and smell back like you wouldn't believe I've got more energy then I know what to do with. If your so against the e cig why don't you go pay some scientists to do a study on it. Instead of going with what everybody else is saying for someone who doesn't do their own research on the subject of e cigs. You talk like your the grandfather of smoking. You can't predict the future you don't have a damn clue what e cigs do to the body and last time I check you damn sure aren't a medical professional or scientist so what your talking is a bunch of crap. I don't care what you read or where you read it. Your nobody of importance in the medical or scientific field so keep your opinions to yourself cause all your doing is making an ass out of yourself especially if you've never smoked a day in your life. As one of my teachers always said you need hard facts backed by proof and data none of which you have sir. I'm not going to say its healthily or better but I've noticed a major difference. Am I speaking for everybody when I say this no I'm speaking for myself and me alone. But I will argue that you can quit smoking all together with these e cigs. Have known a couple people that have stopped smoking completely thanks to the e cig so I say keep up the good work. Also you aren't 1 to talk about that's happening in the world what are you doing to better this generation besides trying to bash everyone and sitting on your ass behind a computer screen. What have you given this great nation? Have you came up with something that might help the world? Not saying I have but I don't go around shitting on everybody elses ideas thanks for your time and I will continue vaping til otherwise.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2013 @ 11:38 am

I live in the UK and our government have started the process to have eCigs classified as 'medicinal' - in other words as they become more popular they don't want to lose the revenue from analogue cigarettes without being able to tax the hell out of the replacement.
I stopped smoking in Sept 2009 after smoking 20 a day for 40 years, I had tried everything going to try and stop from patches to hypnosis, nothing worked until the eCig. Now I can walk upstairs without getting breathless, I don't infect anybody else with secondhand smoke & I wear perfume to smell good not cover up the stale smell of smoke. How can this be bad?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2013 @ 9:54 am

I have been hooked on cigarettes for over 40 years, and was dying from them. After being told by doctors that my end was near, I tried e-cigs as a last resort. I have been diagnosed was everything you can think of and my lungs are GONE. That was a year ago, and now my doctor is amazed that I now have clear lungs, can taste food, I have my wind back...all of it do to e-cigs. So before you blow your mouth off about something you know thing about, why don't you check the numbers on the thousands if not millions who have quit tobacco by using e-cigs. They have SAVED MY LIFE!!! So why don't YOU stay out of it!!!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2013 @ 8:24 pm

What so great about excessive longevity anyway? Has the lifespan for American men and women not risen 20 or more years since the early 1900's? Why are we making such hogs of ourselves over lifespans? I believe that commercial interests want us to live long, long lives because it means more years in which to sell us stuff, from geriatric maintenance pharmaceuticals to nursing homes to retirement oases,etc. etc. Living too long means outliving everyone else until you are alone, diminishing returns in health ,vigor and independence whether a smoker or not. Suppose science gets to work on curing and/or preventing Alzheimer's disease for starters before they encourage everyone to be nonagenarians or centenarians. When 4/5 of the country is advanced geriatric and 20% or less of the younger ones are busting their cojones working to support and defend them, tobacco might suddenly start looking appealing again. Down with gerontocracy!

Posted by JEBL on Jun. 22, 2013 @ 8:08 pm

lolol yall some crazy motherfuckers

Posted by Guest on Jul. 14, 2013 @ 11:58 pm

I am 38 years old and was smoking for over 20 years. I just found out I have copd and started using the vap e cigs. For the people saying that it should be regulated because of the nicotine well let's see

Caffeine
Oysters
Cheese
Choc
Sugar

And so much more or what about this also proven research of the top 10 most addictive foods

White bread
Donuts
Pasta
Chips
Cake
Cookies
Choc
French fries
Candy like gummie bears
And the number 1
Ice cream

Do I hear any one tryin to reg them or ban them.

Stop your freakin whinin and complaining and do some research before you post about something you know nothing about that will benefit people and save lives and help people live longer with this this then if they where smoking.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 07, 2013 @ 1:20 am

Isnt this America " the land of the free" i thought. Another ridiculous law from the Gov. controlling peoples choice and freedom. No surprise actually. Founding fathers of this country would be proud. Cough

Posted by Guest on Aug. 13, 2013 @ 5:14 pm

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