It’s no secret that Democratic Senator Mark Leno doesn’t like electronic cigarettes. He has publicly stated that he believes vaping could be deadly and now he is pushing for a new bill that would ban vaping in public places and enact harsh penalties to stores that sell vaping products to minors. His biggest argument against ecigs is that they contain nicotine and he believes that makes them deadly.
“Whether you get people hooked on e-cigarettes or regular cigarettes, it’s nicotine addiction and it kills,” Leno said. “We’re going to see hundreds of thousands of family members and friends die from e-cigarette use just like we did from traditional tobacco use.”
While Leno’s point of view isn’t uncommon, it has no basis in science. A look at recent research shows that nicotine actually isn’t the reason people die from smoking. In fact, nicotine is comparable to caffeine in the way it affects the body. There is no evidence that using nicotine will increase risk for cancer. People get cancer from cigarettes because they contain tobacco and tar, not because of nicotine.
This is just another example of how our legislators are turning a blind eye to medical science as they dictate laws that impact public health. Rather than saving California residents from cancer and heart disease, this kind of law will only make it more difficult for smokers to make the jump to electronic cigarettes. If the bill is accepted, California will become the 23rd state to regulate ecigs as tobacco products, a devastating mistake since e-cigs are tobacco-free.
The American Vaping Association said passing this bill would be a major mistake for California in terms of public health. “California smokers deserve truthful information about smoke-free alternatives, not hype and conjecture designed to scare them away from attempting to quit with these innovative technology products,” President Gregory Conley said in a press release.
Is public vaping really an issue that calls for new legislation? Do you think people should be allowed to vape in places where smoking is already prohibited?