Cities Continue To Ignore Science By Treating Vaping Like Smoking

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

Officials in an Indiana town are lobbying to treat electronic cigarettes like smoking under local law, ignoring prevailing research showing little risks from second-hand vapor.

The city council in Lafayette, Ind., is proposing a ban on vaping devices in all locations where smoking is prohibited, suggesting to residents that e-cigarettes are just as harmful to the user as combustible tobacco. Ron Campbell, the council member spearheading the effort, said Wednesday that, “there are the same chemicals in electronic smoke as there is in the smoke from a tobacco cigarette or a cigar,” ignoring recent studies showing smokers who switch to e-cigarettes drastically reduce their risk for developing lung cancer, reports WLFI.

Campbell argues that the devices are just another way to continue the habit of smoking and says local laws need to be updated to have “consistency.” One vape shop owner says he understands the city’s motives to create cleaner air, but said their claims about second-hand risks from vaping are not backed up by science.

“With the vapor, you’re only breathing in what the user has already filtered out with their lungs,” Nate Welton, operator of iSmoke Vapor, told WLFI.

A forthcoming study investigating the health impact of aerosol vapor emitted from electronic cigarettes shows it poses no meaningful secondhand risks.

The study, set to be published in the Journal of Aerosol Science in January, investigates the immediate health effects of vaping on a daily user and the impact to those in the user’s vicinity. Dr. Mauro Scungio of the University of Cassino in Italy spearheaded the research effort, which concluded that chemical levels in the vapor released from e-cigarettes are well below the safety limits suggested by both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization.

The researchers determined that vaping is statistically 5,700 times less harmful to users than combustible cigarettes, drastically reducing the risk of developing smoking related illnesses. The scientists compared particles in the air from e-cigarette vapor with particle levels released from tobacco smoke to reach their conclusions.

Advocates of smoking alternatives say alarmism over vaping misses the larger point about e-cigarettes, namely that they are a harm reduction tool helping millions of American smokers quit combustible tobacco. Roughly 2.62 million former smokers were using a vape in 2016.

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