Officials in an Indiana town are targeting e-cigarettes with a new proposal that would ban vaping in all public places, something vaping advocates argue will make it harder for smokers to quit.
The City Council in Lafayette, Ind., will meet Monday to discuss an ordinance that would relegate the use of vapor products to areas where smoking is permitted. The proposal, from City Council President Ron Campbell, bans vaping in all public indoor spaces over concerns it normalizes, “smoking-like behavior,” reports Journal & Courier.
The ordinances cites fears from public health officials that vaping, “may result in higher youth initial rates and a slower decline in adult cessation rates,” despite research showing vaping has already helped millions of smokers quit in both the U.S. and Europe.
Data recently released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse also shows that despite an increase in youth experimentation with vapor products, the teen smoking rate continues to decline, currently sitting at a historic low of 4.2 percent.
Campbell does acknowledge that research shows vapor released from e-cigarettes carries little secondhand risks.
“There’s no record that it includes harmful chemicals like smoking,” said Campbell, according to Journal & Courier.
If the proposal passes the initial reading Monday the council will make a final vote on the ban in March.
Public health experts agree that efforts to reduce public exposure to smoking are bolstered, not undermined, by vaping devices. They say if American cities truly want to promote better lifestyle choices, regulators should stop targeting the vapor industry, which is helping smokers across the country ditch the deadly habit.
Vapor products, which heat liquid nicotine and contain no tobacco, eliminate roughly 95 percent of the health harms associated with cigarettes because the majority of disease-causing chemicals are only released through combustion, according to Public Health England, an arm of the U.K.’s Department of Health.
Scientists at the University of Catania in Italy recently conducted a three-year study investigating the effects of regular vaping on the body of the user, finding “no evidence of health concerns associated with long-term use of e-cigarettes” on blood pressure, heart rate, body weight, lung function, respiratory symptoms, exhaled breath nitric oxide and exhaled carbon monoxide.
A recent study investigating the health impact of aerosol vapor emitted from the devices 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.
Despite the positive research local governments throughout the country continue to restrict alternative smoking products, relying on dated statistics or predetermined narratives about their alleged dangers.
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