Vapers Blast Proposal Treating Harm Reduction Devices Like Cigarettes

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

Electronic cigarette shop owners in an Indiana town are criticizing a new ordinance banning vaping in public places, relegating their use to areas where smoking is permitted.

The Lafayette, Ind., City Council approved the new ban on vapor products Monday evening. The ban amends the city’s smoke-free tobacco policy to include e-cigarettes. Ordinance proponents say the devices, which heat liquid nicotine and contain no tobacco, are normalizing “smoking-like behavior,” WBAA reported.

Vape shop owners are hitting back against city officials, arguing public policy should not conflate smoking’s massive risks with vaping’s minimal health impact. The majority of their customers are former smokers who have used a vape to ditch the habit, Lafayette’s 7 Sins Vape worker Zachary Gracer noted.

“The language being inserted into a city ordinance puts us in the same category as smokers,” Gracer told WBAA. “A lot of us are ex-smokers. But we don’t consider ourselves smokers today. This is a very different experience.”

“There’s no record that it includes harmful chemicals like smoking,” City Council President Ron Campbell, who’s a ban proponent, said but previously acknowledged the stark differences between cigarette smoke and vapor e-cigarettes release.

Public health experts agree vaping devices bolster, not undermine, efforts to reduce public exposure to smoking. Regulators should stop targeting the vapor industry, which is helping smokers across the country ditch the deadly habit, if American cities truly want to promote better lifestyle choices, the health experts said.

recent study investigating the health impact of aerosol vapor emitted from the devices shows chemical levels in the e-cigarette released vapor are well below the safety limits the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization suggest.

Local governments throughout the country continue to restrict alternative smoking products, relying on dated statistics or predetermined narratives about their alleged dangers, despite the positive research.

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