New Jersey Poised to Ban E-Cigarettes in Public

New Jersey is poised to become the second state to ban the use of e-cigarettes in public places where smoking is already prohibited, with the New Jersey Senate set to vote today on a bill already passed unanimously by the Assembly.

A primary purpose, says Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the antismoking organization which supplied a detailed report supporting the bill, is to protect bystanders who otherwise are at possible risk from heart attacks, just like those inhaling secondhand tobacco smoke. It is estimated that secondhand tobacco smoke causes about 60,000 nonsmoker deaths a year, approximately 20 times as many nonsmoker deaths as from lung cancer caused by inhaling the smoke.

As many studies have found, exposure to even small amounts of drifting tobacco smoke can trigger a heart attack in nonsmokers in as little as 30 minutes. Since a major cause of the heart attacks is nicotine, the main component of the vapor exhaled by e-cig users, those in the vicinity of e-smokers appear to be at similar risk.

ASH’s report also notes that many e-cigs also apparently contain carcinogens and other toxic chemicals. While the amounts are reportedly small, ASH argues that innocent bystanders should not be subjected to any unnecessary exposure to chemicals which can cause cancer. As the ASH report notes:

“Since the FDA has also ruled that the product is ‘illegal,’ no agency currently is testing to see what other impurities or other chemicals [in addition to those toxins and carcinogens already found by the FDA] might also be found in e-cigs, many of which are made in China where quality control and inspections may be less rigorous than in the U.S. Also, at least one manufacturer has been found to have been deliberately adding Cialis as well as nicotine to his e-cigarettes.”

In short, wrote ASH, “it appears that bystanders are being exposed to a wide variety of chemicals in addition to nicotine and propylene glycol when e-cigs are used in public places. While the amounts of these toxins, carcinogens, and other chemicals may be small, ASH respectfully suggests that no person should be able to force others to unnecessarily inhale any potentially dangerous chemicals, regardless of the amounts of toxins or carcinogens present.”

ASH also highlighted the problem from the point of the individuals behind the statistics. It quoted from a letter it received with complained: “My first exposure to e-cigarettes was last year in a hospital, smokers were made to go outside but three e-smokers plus 2 staff were using the e-cigarettes inside . . . . I have lupus and the vapor irritated my nose, eyes, throat, and chest, plus the nicotine was making me feel nauseous so there must have been significant quantities in the side-vapor. I am told I had no rights to stop the use of these cigarettes indoors. It makes a mockery of the new laws.”

Finally, ASH noted that people who wish to quit smoking have many other products — like gums, patches, sprays, and inhalers — which likewise administer the nicotine addicted smokers need. But these products are regulated by the FDA so as to protect them from contamination, and their use poses no risks to others.

New Jersey would become the second state to ban e-cig use in all no-smoking areas. E-cigs have already been banned outright in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, and Mexico among other places, and restricted in Finland, Malaysia, and Singapore.

As this is written, a number of jurisdictions are considering bans on the use of e-cigs in public places like the one now being considered by the New Jersey Senate, and apparently passed 76-0 by the Assembly.

Other jurisdictions are considering banning the sale of e-cigs, a move largely designed to protect potential users of e-cigs, but one which would also help protect innocent nonsmokers from exposure to the vapors.

Such a ban on sales is also already largely in effect in Oregon as a result of legal action by the Attorney General, and the Attorney General of Connecticut has announced plans for similar actions in the near future.

ASH’s actions have so far prompted the FDA to declare e-cigs “illegal,” and to issue a scathing report about their dangers. ASH also prompted several Attorneys General to sue or plan to sue to step e-cigarette sales, and PayPal and Amazon.com to stop facilitating the sale of this product. More recently ASH has been encouraging class action law suits against e-cig sellers, a sample of which appears at http://ash.org/ecigclassaction

PROFESSOR JOHN F. BANZHAF III
Professor of Public Interest Law at GWU, and
Executive Director and Chief Counsel
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
America’s First Antismoking Organization
2013 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006, USA
(202) 659-4310 // http://ash.org

5 responses to “New Jersey Poised to Ban E-Cigarettes in Public

  1. “ASH respectfully suggests that no person should be able to force others to unnecessarily inhale any potentially dangerous chemicals, regardless of the amounts of toxins or carcinogens present”

    Why don’t they lobby to ban gasoline-powered cars? The way they go after smokers and smokers only is an obscenity, claiming that people who smoke cause cancer even when they’re not smoking… please! Ash’s only goal is to dehumanize smokers and take their source of pleasure away from them. When they have stamped out nicotine for good, they’ll go after caffeine and alcohol, fatty foods, anything that poses a “public health risk” — while ignoring that the public is made up of individuals who have a right to choose for themselves, whether or not to go into a smoky restaurant, whether or not to light up. In so doing, they are willfully turning us into a society of sheeple who rely on bureaucracies to keep us safe from ourselves and tell us the rules and punish anyone who gets out of line. Smoking’s terrible for you; but to attack smokers this way reeks of authoritarianism and an attempt to crush of individual thought.

  2. This is insane-smoking highly carncinogenic cigarettes is completely legal but completely SAFE electronic cigarettes, which have helped millions all over the world quit smoking tobacco should be BANNED? Did someone just discover that nicotine causes cancer or heart attacks and not the carcinogens in tobacco smoke? Something is not right here. The tobacco industry’s hands are all over this, and clearly these “anti-smoking” groups like ASH and GASP depend upon, and are ALL COMPLETELY FUNDED BY the tobacco companies. There is no tobacco in electronic cigarette e-liquid-that says it all.

  3. This is so absurd. I was a smoker for 15 years. I tried everything it seemed, and nothing could break my habit. I only use e-cigs now. Been tobacco free for 7 months. It works!!!!! Now why on earth would someone want to BAN something that works??? Money! It all boils down to power and dollars and cents. Control. I no longer weeze, cough, stink, or spend more than I have to. Why? E-cigs are saving my life. I will probably never quit vaping. If this is banned, millions who can not quit will die early. E-cigs are the best thing that has been invented for smokers. Why can’t we make out own choices and/or mistakes? Let us choose for ourselves.

  4. Well, since it\’s now a law and the chances of getting it repealed are pretty much zero, I suggest ALL of us current and former smokers resort to eating beans and greens and eggs. We can then go into all the yuppie\’s hangouts and fart them out into streets where they become targets for all the other nasty chemicals in the air. Reckon then they\’ll vote to ban breathing as it\’s hazardous to their health.

  5. That article just broke my heart when I read it but then I move to the comments left by you wonderful folks and realized..it has to be the money! Screw these tobacoo companies that have taken atleast $1000’s of my dollars keeping my wanting more. I think 2010 will be the year former smokers get together and realize, e-cigarettes is the way to go.

    P.S BTW is there a good comapny that sells marlboro flavored e-cigarettes?? Thanks

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