Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Saugus board hears e-cigarettes backer

The Daily Item
by Matt Tempesta
February 7, 2012

Saugus, MA-- An advocate for electronic cigarettes spoke to the Saugus Board of Health Monday night, to plead her case that e-cigarettes should not be banned for public use.

Karen Carey of the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association, said she had been a pack-a-day smoker for 36 years before finally quitting after trying an e-cigarette.

“Overnight I became a non-smoker,” said Carey. “I have not smoked a cigarette since Aug. 7, 2010, which is the day I bought my first e-cigarette kit. Now whenever someone lights a cigarette I want to leave the room.”

An e-cigarette is a nicotine delivery product that reproduces the act of smoking, but the user inhales a mist from a small vial of heated “e-liquid,” placed in cigarette-shaped device.

The Board of Health has been meeting with Joyce Redford of the North Shore/Cape Ann Tobacco Alcohol Policy Program to update its tobacco policy to include e-cigarettes. If passed, the new policy would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors under 18 and ban them from being used in public.

While Carey said she agreed they should not be sold to minors, she noted being able to smoke them in public provides a major incentive for smokers to quit. She also said it would affect e-cigarette retailers, like Mark Petrillo, owner of Eastern Vapor in Saugus Center.

“I think it’s horrible for the smokers in Saugus,” said Carey. “One of the reasons I started was I was able to go into a store in my town and try the product before I bought it. (Petrillo) is going to have to take his customer outside. It doesn’t make any sense.”

Despite Carey’s arguments, Board of Health Chairman Joe Vinard said allowing e-cigarettes to be used in public would “cut right down the middle” of what the board is trying to do.

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