E-Cigarette public smoking bans begin

E-cigarettes have been declared illegal by the Food and Drug Administration [FDA], their sale has been banned in one state and several countries, PayPal has stopped facilitating their sale, Facebook has reportedly dropped their ads, and now one county was banned their use wherever conventional smoking is prohibited.

Other restrictions and problems are on their way for e-cigarettes, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), who has been behind many of these steps to protect the public from this untested product. A letter from ASH helped trigger this latest restriction, one which will prevent the use of e-cigarettes in any public areas and workplaces where the smoking of conventional tobacco products is now prohibited.

ASH filed a legal petition asking the FDA to assert jurisdiction over the product — which the agency has done by prohibiting their importation into the country. ASH wrote to all 50 attorneys general, asking them to take legal action against this “illegal” and potentially dangerous product. One attorney general has argued that their sale constitutes an unfair trade practice, and has obtained a court order prohibiting their sale. Other attorneys general are considering similar actions.

ASH, in a legal letter sent to PayPal, advised the company that providing payment for e-cigarettes “appears to be aiding and abetting the sale of these illegal products by providing payment vehicles to internet sites which are selling them, and doing so in interstate commerce and in possible violation of consumer protection laws in the individual states.”

PayPal was also warned that: “As the FDA and others have noted, e-cigarettes pose a wide variety of potential dangers to users, and perhaps also to those around them, both of whom inhale a mixture of nicotine (a dangerous drug) and propylene glycol (which is used in antifreeze, and may cause respiratory tract irritation).” In response, PayPal is no longer facilitating the sale of this product.

In addition to nicotine and propylene glycol, the FDA recently reported that it found in samples of e-cigarettes a variety of “toxic and carcinogenic chemicals” including diethylene glycol, “an ingredient used in antifreeze, [which] is toxic to humans”; “certain tobacco-specific nitrosamines which are human carcinogens”; and that “tobacco-specific impurities suspected of being harmful to humans – anabasine, myosmine, and β-nicotyrine – were detected in a majority of the samples tested.”

There is every reason to believe that many of these cancer-causing chemicals are also found in the “vapor” given off by e-cigarettes, says Banzhaf, which nonsmokers in the vicinity are then forced to inhale. These secondhand “smokers” may include infants and toddlers, the elderly, and those with pre-existing medical conditions which may make them more susceptible to exposure to these toxins.

At a press conference called by the FDA, Matthew McKenna, M.D., and who is the director of the CDC’s Office of Smoking and Health, noted that the e-cigarettes can be used in environments that are smoke-free, and therefore weaken the health benefits of the antismoking efforts.

“Until this new product and its vapor can be studied and evaluated by an impartial scientific body like the FDA, distributors of this new product will be using their customers and those around them, including children and innocent bystanders, as guinea pigs to see if there are any short-term — not to mention long-term — health consequences,” argues Banzhaf.

People seated on airplanes, or in restaurants and other public places where tobacco smoking has finally been banned, should not not be forced to inhale a potentially dangerous mixture of nicotine, propylene glycol, anabasine, myosmine, β-nicotyrine, certain tobacco-specific nitrosamines which are human carcinogens, and who knows what else, he says. As the Surgeon General has noted, there is no safe lower level of exposure to any known human carcinogen so, as with asbestos, even fleeting exposures should be guarded against.

Several other jurisdictions are considering bans on the use of e-cigarettes where cigarette smoking is now prohibited.

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  1. Orville Meixner Says:

    I think it was Mark Twain talking about cigarettes, (said it well) but who knows maybe I am wrong… “To cease smoking is the easiest thing I ever did. I ought to know because I’ve done it a thousand times.”

  2. amy Says:

    ok, so my e cig fumes are now a problem.. how about your freaking saturated perfumed or Cologned bodies..why do i have to suffer through a dinner or evening out smelling your rancid attempt at attraction? I end up with headaches and sinus infections due to the horrid scents you all lather yourselves with..HOw about a law on that!!

  3. amy Says:

    as for quitting cigs there are rehabs ( paid for by out tax dollars) that help illegal drug users, alcoholics, but no where is there a rehab sponsored by insurance that will help one to quit smoking yet they state it is as addictive as heroin?? Go figure!!!

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