Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ban on Indoor 'Vaping' Draws a Crowd

Tacoma Weekly
By John Larson
Thursday, 19 May 2011

Tacoma, Washington--Smoking has been prohibited in bars, restaurants, bowling alleys and other public places in Washington for several years now. But should “vaping” be allowed? Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department is pondering that question.

“Vaping” is the term for using battery-powered cigarettes. The devices have become popular in the last two years, primarily among smokers, or former smokers, who use them as an alternative to the real thing.

The department is considering a ban on the use of electronic cigarettes in public places and anywhere else where it is already prohibited to smoke cigarettes. The proposal would ban their sale to minors and prohibit their distribution for free or at a considerable discount for a promotional activity.

The department held a public hearing on the topic on May 16. Greg Jacoby, legal counsel for the department, noted that a similar ban went into effect in King County in January. A doctor at the table noted there are five studies underway on the devices, but there is not yet conclusive data on what impact they have on health.

All who testified were against the proposed ban.

Thad Marney of Portland is on the board of directors of Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives. Marney said carbon monoxide and tar are the major culprits in cigarettes as far as a threat to the health of users. He dismissed the idea that minors want to use these devices....

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