The city joins a growing list of municipalities restricting the rights and freedoms of responsible adults.
Anti-vaping activists have been on a sustained campaign to convince the public vaping is just as harmful as smoking for the better part of the last decade. Despite ever-emerging evidence of vaping’s efficacy as a smoking cessation device and proving its relative safety when compared with tobacco, municipalities across the country continue to prohibit the sale and use of vaporizers based on misinformation.
The city of Grand Island, Nebraska joins the growing list of municipalities that have restricted the sale and/or use of vapor devices and products. The Grand Island City Council voted unanimously to pass an ordinance prohibiting the use of vaporizers in public places.
Anti-vaping activists hail the move as another, which helps further their narrative of vaping being the same as smoking. Local members of the vaping community have argued against the ordinance, saying it restricts their rights as responsible adults.
The vote comes as cities across the country are enacting vaping bans of their own. These bans can range from restrictions on the use of these devices in public spaces, to complete prohibition such as the recent ban in San Francisco.
Yet Another Ban
On Tuesday, the Grand Island City Council unanimously voted to pass an ordinance prohibiting the use of vaping devices in public spaces. The ordinance, going into effect Wednesday, September 11th, would amend Chapter 39 of the City Code to prohibit vaping in public just as smoking already is.
Stacy Nonhof, Interim City Attorney, introduced the ordinance after fellow council member Chuck Hasse brought up the topic of vaping in public a few months back. Nonhof then claims to have looked into the uses and effects of vaping, presenting research to the council based on misinformation perpetuated by anti-vaping organizations.
“Grand Island needs to get its smoking ban ordinance up to date,” Chuck Hasse said. “Vaping is relatively new, at least over the last decade, and we need to update and be leaders in the community for the health of our citizens.”
In a related item, the city council also voted to amend Chapter 20 of the City Code to raise the age for tobacco purchases from 18 to 19. Nonhof notes that the Nebraska legislature recently raised the age from 18 to 19, with the passing of the updated ordinance making the city compliant with state statute.
Benefits Of Vaping
Despite bans and other restrictions by lawmakers citing health concerns and comparisons to tobacco, vaping has been repeatedly proven as a safe smoking cessation device and reduced-harm alternative. In separate independent studies conducted by Public Health England and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, researchers found vaping to be 95% safer and 93% safer than smoking, respectively.
Research published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences found that vapers have a 57,000 times lower risk of developing cancer in comparison to smokers. The study concluded particulate matter produced by vapor was much less harmful than particulate matter produced by smoke.
A study from the University of Louisville found vaping to be the most effective smoking cessation tool available today. Researchers concluded vaping was even more effective than traditional nicotine replacement therapies such as patches and gum, as well as prescription options such as Chantix.
Misinformation regarding vaping puts public health at risk by deterring smokers looking for a proven alternative to help them quit. In fact, a survey conducted by Action on Smoking and Health shockingly discovered only 13% of adults believe vaping is safer than smoking, with a staggering 26% saying it’s just as bad if not worse.
Grand Island’s ban comes as municipalities throughout the country pass legislation restricting the use and/or sale of vaping. From banning vaping indoors and in public places, to complete municipal bans on the sale of vaping products within city limits, lawmakers across the nation are actively restricting the rights and freedoms of responsible adults.
These bans can have massive negative implications on public health at large. Smokers looking for a safer and proven alternative to help them quit may not have access thanks to these laws, as well as the negative associations between vaping and smoking these bans cause that may deter people from even looking at vaping as a smoking cessation tool in the first place.
Members of the vaping community must remain civically engaged in challenging legislators on their voting record. We must make it clear to lawmakers that restricting our rights and freedoms undermines what this country was founded on.
Have you used vaporizers to quit cigarettes? Do you feel these municipal bans go too far? What’s the most important part about vaping to you? Let us know what you think in the comments below. Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive the latest vaping news!
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