A proposal to reform Montana laws banning indoor electronic cigarette usage and in certain public areas is being delayed following critical testimony from vape shop owners.
The Missoula City Council appeared poised to pass the smoking and vaping ordinance until two local businesses, Ecig Vapor Juice and Liberty Vapor Smoke, convinced Ward 3 council member Heather Harp to propose an exemption for vape shops. The council is now reforming the proposal to better protect small business rights in their community, according to the Missoulian.
During the public discussion Monday, vape shop owners argued customer product testing is a critical aspect of their business, which helps former smokers choose the best device and/or juice. They also say since vaping devices do not contain tobacco, they should not be treated the same as cigarettes under the Montana Clean Indoor Air Act.
“Vapor is not the same as your traditional cigarette and should not be treated as such,” Ecig Vapor Juice owner Keith Bowman said, according to the Missoulian. “(Testing in store) is the main way of figuring out if that is something they can use to get off cigarettes.”
Harm reduction experts are critical of policies that conflate combustible cigarettes’ destructive health impacts with vapor products. They say policies should reflect the difference in risk between cigarettes and alternative technologies.
A growing body of research suggests vaping does not carry any meaningful second-hand risks in indoor environments. A recent study investigating aerosol-vapor-emitting aerosol devices’ health impact shows chemical levels in the vapor released from e-cigarettes are well below the safety limits from both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization.
Millions of former U.S. smokers are embracing the positive science on vaping and using the harm-reduction tools to quit combustible cigarettes.
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