Former Smokers Call City’s Proposed Ban On Outdoor Vaping ‘Preposterous’

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

Former smokers relying on vapor products to satiate their nicotine cravings are criticizing an attempt to ban public vaping in Hartford, Conn.

City Councilman Larry Deutsch proposed the crack down Wednesday, which would also raise the legal purchasing age in the city from 18 to 21. The proposal is frustrating former smokers who have ditched the deadly habit, arguing the city is punishing vapers for making a health conscious choice, reports the Hartford Courant.

Deutsch sent the proposal to the council’s health committee for further review, which he hopes will bring it forward for a vote sometime this summer. It would amend the city’s ordinance governing tobacco products to include nicotine devices like e-cigarettes. While he says the move is about preventing youth use of the products, critics argue the restrictions will undermine public health in the city. (RELATED: A Majority Of Adults Still Falsely Believe Nicotine Fuels Tobacco Cancer)

“It makes no sense,” Javier Llantin-Cruz, a 21-year-old resident who quit smoking with a vape, told the Hartford Courant. “You can’t get secondhand smoke from vaping … And it’s a good thing to get into, because it’s healthier. I just don’t see why they’re trying to ban it.”

Vaping largely eliminates the harms from conventional cigarettes because 95 percent of the carcinogens that cause tobacco-related illnesses are released through combustion, according to Public Health England. E-cigarettes simply heat liquid nicotine, creating an aerosol vapor.

Vape shop workers in Hartford, who note they adhere to age restrictions on vapor products, are calling the proposal “preposterous.” They argue they are simply serving adults in the community looking for an alternative to combustible cigarettes.

Vape advocates also say the ban will force them back into smoking areas, negating the harm reduction benefits of quitting combustible cigarettes.

“There is no logical reason to ban using a product that’s been proven to be safer than smoking cigarettes in a public place,” Michael Boyea, manager at Songbirds Vape and Smoke, told the Hartford Courant. “When it comes to any of these products, it’s helping people get away from something that is proven to kill them.”

Research published in the Journal of Aerosol Science in January shows 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, posing no secondhand risk. The study also determined that vaping is statistically 5,700 times less harmful to users than combustible cigarettes, drastically reducing the risk of developing smoking related illnesses.

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 smokers quit worldwide.

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