Smokin’ and Vapin’ and Wishin’ and Hopin’

Smokin' and Vapin' and Wishin' and Hopin'Tobacco smoking has undergone so many years of intensive research that the smoke, itself has been designated in 3 categories. First-hand smoke, the “inhalation of smoke of burning tobacco encased in cigarettes, pipes, and cigars” harm the smoker. Second-hand smoke, essentially involuntary smoking by the inhalation of smoke from another’s burning cigarette and exhaled smoke, harms the smoker and anyone near the smoker. Third-hand smoke, the collection of toxic chemicals from smoking that infuses hair, clothing, furniture, walls, carpeting, and anything else that can absorb second-hand smoke, also harms the smoker and anyone near the smoker. As opposition to the various harms of smoking grew, the federal government and approximately 30 states gradually adopted environmental laws to deal particularly with second-hand and third-hand smoke as forms of air pollution. The federal government’s OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act), for example, guards employees against “occupational diseases caused by breathing air contaminated with harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays, or vapors.” Meanwhile, some states limit or ban tobacco smoke in many public places and even in some private places. California, for example, has a master plan for becoming “the first tobacco-free state” through a series of policies and laws, including but not limited to environmental laws.

You might ask, “So, what’s new?” Laws, environmental and otherwise, have been dealing with tobacco smoke for decades. The “new” is the states’ increasing attention to e-cigarettes. An e-cigarette is a nicotine-delivery system using a battery-powered atomizer and a cartridge infused with a Propylene Glycol or Vegetable Glycerin based liquid, mixed with small amounts of nicotine and food grade flavoring. You’ll notice that e-cigarettes do not use tobacco, and “no tobacco” = “no smoke.” Therefore, e-cigarettes do not result in first-hand, second-hand, third-hand or any-hand smoke; rather, the e-cigarette user “vapes,” creating a vapor that is inhaled and exhaled like cigarette smoke by simulating smoking. The vapor is taken into the user’s lungs, satisfies his/her addictive craving for nicotine, and the remaining vapor is disbursed in the air. Many ex-smokers extol the virtues of e-cigarettes because there’s no smoke, no ash, no cigarette butt, and users reportedly feel better because they are inhaling the few chemicals of e-cigarettes rather than the 3,000 or so chemicals in cigarettes. Furthermore, anti-tobacco laws generally do not apply to e-cigarettes, so they can be used in many places in which tobacco smoking is banned; consequently, the question of where/whether/when one can smoke becomes a non-issue. As you might imagine, since their invention in 2006, e-cigarettes have markedly increased in popularity, with sales in excess of $500 million in 2012, projected to exceed $1 billion in 2013, and projected to become a $3 billion/year industry in the next three years.

As you might also imagine, anti-smoking associations and environmental activists are also highly interested in e-cigarettes. According to the anti-e-cigarette camp, e-liquid manufacturers are not currently required to disclose the ingredients in e-cigarette liquid or its vapor; consequently, the possible health risks to people around the vapor are unknown. Furthermore, they cite a 2010 study finding that nicotine causes carcinogens when it reacts with nitrous acid, a component of indoor air; the stickiness of nicotine, which makes it adhere to surfaces for days/weeks, means that carcinogens can continue to form for days/weeks after the e-cigarette’s use. In sum, the study cited by anti-e-cigarette forces found that e-cigarettes are sources of chemicals and aerosols with possibly severe impacts on health. As a result of this and similar studies, along with vaping’s close resemblance to tobacco-smoking, some are calling for laws in the areas of public health and the environment to restrict or outright ban e-cigarettes.

Meanwhile, the pro-e-cigarette camp decries anti-e-cigarette camp’s efforts as alarmist ravings for overregulation of a product with little or no proof of that product’s harm. E-cigarette supporters provide their own studies, chiefly the Clearstream and IVAQS studies, supporting the free continued use of e-cigarettes. Nicotine is scientifically no more carcinogenic than is caffeine, they say, and there is no genuine scientific proof of the vapor’s harmful effects, environmental or otherwise. In fact, the pro-e-cigarette camp cites studies showing that e-cigarettes are much safer than normal cigarettes and at least as effective as nicotine patches and nicotine gum in helping people to quit smoking. Therefore, they reason, e-cigarettes should not be severely controlled or banned without further research. A third X-factor party in this discussion is the Tobacco Industry, which certainly noticed rising e-cigarette sales, and has entered the market by investing in e-cigarette companies or developing new nicotine-delivery systems. The Tobacco Industry’s contribution to the debate, probably depending on which stance(s) are most profitable, will make the discussion more complex and more interesting over the coming weeks, months and years.

Kathy Catanzarite

[Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information cannot be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither HandelontheLaw.com, or any of its affiliates, shall have any liability stemming from this article.]


Source: Kathy Catanzarite – Handelonthelaw.com Staff Writer

Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.