Experts Denounce New Jersey Law Restricting Use of Electronic Cigarette

A law passed last week by the New Jersey Senate is raising the ire of public health experts, anti-smoking activists, and consumer advocacy groups. The bill, sponsored by Senators Bob Gordon and Joseph Vitale, prohibits the use of so-called electronic cigarettes where smoking is prohibited, making e-cigarettes subject to the provisions of the New Jersey Smoke Free Air Act.

The problem? The devices don’t produce any smoke.

Dr. David Baron, former Chief of Staff at UCLA Medical Center, appearing in a video about one brand of e-cigarettes, says, “All that’s happening is you’re heating up a liquid to the point of becoming a vapor. So referring to it as smoke marlboro doesn’t make any sense at all. Therefore, considering it subject to a smoking ban doesn’t really make sense, either.”A law passed last week by the New Jersey Senate is raising the ire of public health experts, anti-smoking activists, and consumer advocacy groups. The bill, sponsored by Senators Bob Gordon and Joseph Vitale, prohibits the use of so-called electronic cigarettes where smoking is prohibited, making e-cigarettes subject to the provisions of the New Jersey Smoke Free Air Act.

The problem? The devices don’t produce any smoke.

Dr. David Baron, former Chief of Staff at UCLA Medical Center, appearing in a video about one brand of e-cigarettes, says, “All that’s happening is you’re heating up a liquid to the point of becoming a vapor. So referring to it as smoke doesn’t make any sense at all. Therefore, considering it subject to a smoking ban doesn’t really make sense, either.”

Dr. Brad Rodu, Professor of Medicine at the University of Louisville, agrees: “Claiming that e-cigarettes are dangerous for non-smokers is about as credible as claiming that air travel is dangerous for people who never set foot on an airplane.”

Bill Godshall, Executive Director of Smokefree Pennsylvania, sent a letter directly to the New Jersey senate, stating, “Proponents of [the bill banning indoor use] have grossly and intentionally misrepresented the health risks of e-cigarettes in order to scare legislators into voting for this unwarranted legislation that threatens (instead of improves) public health. Smokers who have recently quit and/or are trying to quit need support, not harassment and ostracism.”

The American Association of Public Health Physicians is also against banning indoor use. Dr. Joel Nitzkin, Chair of the AAPHP Tobacco Control Task Force, issued this statement: “From our perspective, e-cigarettes should be considered a smokeless tobacco product (vapor is not smoke) and should not be prohibited in areas where smoking is prohibited.”

Electronic cigarettes comprise a battery, a heating element, and a cartridge that holds a liquid that may or may not contain nicotine. The device creates a vapor, which when exhaled creates the visual effect of “smoke” using the same ingredient used in fog machines in theatrical productions. The ingredient, propylene glycol, is also found in a variety of commonly used products, such as mouthwash, hypoallergenic moisturizers, and asthma inhalers. According to the FDA, propylene glycol, which has been studied for more than 60 years, is GRAS (generally regarded as safe).

Spike Babaian, president of the National Vapers Club, a group that educates the public, legislators, and health professionals about electronic cigarettes, says that calling the device a “cigarette” of any kind is a misnomer. “Nicotine vaporizers are intended for adult smokers, which is why they were originally called ‘electronic cigarettes’–to attract smokers to the product. Unfortunately, referring to them as ‘cigarettes’ has also caused a knee-jerk reaction among legislators and anti-smoking organizations. If our true concern is public health, we have to move past these misconceptions.”

According to Dr. Michael Siegel, professor at Boston University of Public Health and a longtime anti-smoking activist, “The anti-smoking groups’ condemnation of electronic cigarettes is based largely on the FDA’s laboratory findings, which actually indicated that e-cigarettes are much safer than regular ones because they contain miniscule levels of carcinogens, while cigarettes contain very high levels of a large number of carcinogens. The level of tobacco-specific nitrosamines is reduced by a factor of up to 1400, indicating a substantial degree of relative safety compared to smoking.”

Even Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), founded by John Banzhaf, an outspoken critic of e-cigarettes, issued a press release in response to the FDA findings that stated: “The principal dangers of e-cigarettes highlighted by the FDA–that they contain ‘known carcinogens and toxic chemicals’–appears overblown. Virtually all nicotine replacement products – e.g., nicotine gum, nicotine patches, nicotine sprays, nicotine inhalers, etc.–reportedly also contain tiny amounts of these known carcinogens because the nicotine used in the products is extracted from tobacco which contains these naturally-occurring chemicals.”

Babaian says, “The National Vapers Club finds it very disturbing that the New Jersey Senate created public policy based on fear and misinformation, rather than on science and public health.”
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National Vapers Club (NVC) is a consumer-based organization. NVC is run and sponsored by e-cigarette users, also called vapers, through local vapers clubs as well as anonymous online donations. NVC is not affiliated with or funded in any way by any e-cigarette company.

National Vapers Club is made up of a number of local and state groups around the country that educate the public on e-cigarettes (they prefer the term “nicotine vaporizers”). They speak publicly about the device and the liquid used in it. They present information to news media, as well as to local and state governments, to encourage responsible regulation of the product until the FDA can develop regulatory standards for the device.

source: www.onlineprnews.com

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