So in today’s latest installment of “the council is a bunch of morons” and “there goes my freedoms” we find E-cigarettes or E-cigs as the reason. Late last year the city council acted on some council and citizen complaints about less than courteous smokers and took action to provide a breathable buffer between smokers and non-smoking folks and families at city parks near playgrounds and at public events. The city wasn’t looking to add to the restrictions on smokers but to insure equal opportunity for fun in the sun and fresh air for all.

Smokers have rights.  Non-smokers have rights too…and smoking related health concerns not of their own making.  The city council has been accused by some of now representing the nanny state.  Not True.  You can smoke if you want.  We don’t want to be your nanny.  But we have a responsibility for public health so our requirement is to go to bat for the other guy who doesn’t want to breathe your smoke.  The results of that are the new smoking guidelines.

Recently the issue of E-Cigs came forward -I don’t recall how- but the question was asked if we should put them in the same category as cigarettes, pipes and cigars –and- should they receive extra scrutiny as a new covert delivery system for illegal public marijuana consumption.   We were given information to review by staff and we all did our own homework to varying degrees

The word “ban” was used extensively in the media coverage which was inaccurate and I believe inflammatory.  It was not a ban but rather a reclassification to include e-cigs into the restricted air space with which we classify tobacco products.

At this point it sounds like the dissent falls into 4 camps.  The first group feels e-cigs have helped them and others get off regular cigarettes and they hail e-cigs as life savers.  The second group seems to be a more “don’t tread on me and my liberty” type.  The third group seems to harbor long standing mistrust of government and just likes the idea of griping about city council in general and never missing the chance to take a swing.  The fourth group thinks the research is sufficient and the science is complete and there is nothing to worry about and we are, well, morons for worrying about them.  What can we say to calm or appease these folks?

I can’t speak for Tom or Maureen but I can tell you this from my perspective: The one thing proponents and opponents of E-Cigarettes seem to agree on is that MORE RESEARCH IS NEEDED TO BE SURE.

Check out the references listed below…both sides will have their experts but the city council’s job is to manage risk vs. reward.  When, as now, the science is insufficient for a definitive statement on public safety, it makes responsible public policy sense to provide for a buffer between those who want to vape and those who don’t…just like with cigarettes.

Personal stories of cessation are great…but the jury is still out in the medical community at large.

Nobody’s liberty is being trampled…the idea of providing fresh air space was to make sure the allergic and reactive person’s liberty wasn’t trampled by vapers.

And no, Big Tobacco did not pay us off.

For those who say the science is complete I offer findings from the Mayo Clinic, Harvard Medical, the World Health Organization, the American Lung Association and more who all say otherwise.  Do I believe them –or- do I believe the guy calling me names and telling me he knows what he’s talking about because he uses an e-cig?

So… in the face of all the contradictory and anecdotal information, I personally voted not to ban e-cigs but to provide a buffer between them and the non-smoker/vapers types UNTIL such time as the scientific research becomes a bit clearer and I can be assured of their neighbor’s full safety.  If you want to smoke or e-cigs or whatever, that is on you…until your smoke or vapor drifts over to your neighbor.

I lost my mom to smoking caused lung cancer and my dead to respiratory complications from breathing 60 years of my mother’s second hand smoke.    Doctors say “first do no harm”.  That’s all my no vote was about.  WHY does that make me a moron as some have written?

The Mayo Clinic — Manufacturers claim that electronic cigarettes are a safe alternative to conventional cigarettes. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has questioned the safety of these products. When the FDA analyzed samples of two popular brands, they found variable amounts of nicotine and traces of toxic chemicals, including known cancer-causing substances (carcinogens). This prompted the FDA to issue a warning about potential health risks associated with electronic cigarettes.

Until more is known about the potential risks, the safe play is to say no to electronic cigarettes. If you’re looking for help to stop smoking, there are many FDA-approved medications that have been shown to be safe and effective for this purpose.

The American Lung Association of MA - It’s estimated that there are more than 250 different e-cigarette brands for sale in the U.S. today, and since they are unregulated, according to Casey Harvell with the American Lung Association of Massachusetts, manufacturers are not being held accountable for potential health risks.

“Right now, there’s no way of knowing what’s in these e-cigarettes,” she warned. “They’re not controlled by the FDA, something we are encouraging, so right now there’s no way to say that it is a safe product to use.”

The Food and Drug Administration has proposed a rule that would allow the agency to regulate e-cigarettes as it does tobacco products.

Texas University  -Cooke added, “This study is an important first step to understanding the physiological complications and public health concerns surrounding the use of e-cigarettes…” If this study confirms the scholars’ hypotheses, additional research will be needed to further understand the immediate effects of vaporized nicotine, the impact of dosage and age on an e-cigarette user’s health and the long-term effects of e-cigarettes.”

Harvard Medical – The truth is that nobody knows if e-cigarettes are safe. That’s because e-cigarette makers have not submitted their products for FDA approval, which would require proof of safety and effectiveness…..There are still many reasons to worry about e-cigarettes. First, the dose of nicotine delivered with each puff may vary substantially. ….. Second, e-cigarettes still contain an array of chemicals. There is no proof that e-cigarettes increase the risk of cancer the way real cigarettes surely do, but again, that’s because there are no good, long-term studies of safety.   DR. ANTHONY KOMAROFF is a physician and professor at Harvard Medical School.

World Health Organization —   The World Health Organization (WHO) is equally wary, saying that until e-cigarettes have been endorsed as safe and effective by national regulators, “consumers should be strongly advised not to use any of these products …e-cigarettes as cigarettes you can smoke anywhere, saying that they present no health risks because they don’t emit secondhand smoke. However, health experts say there is no basis for a safety claim, as e-cigarettes have not been adequately tested. Regulations vary, but some countries, including Australia, Canada, Israel and Mexico, have banned electronic cigarettes. Others consider electronic cigarettes legal, but are in the process of legislating where and how people can use them.

While e-cigarettes don’t produce secondhand smoke, they do produce secondhand vapor. And even though manufacturers say that it’s merely water vapor and therefore harmless, regulatory agencies and health experts contend that e-cigarette makers haven’t conducted the research needed to prove this. Some individuals, particularly those with health conditions that make them sensitive, have reported that the vapor is irritating to their eyes, noses and throats, and that it affects their breathing and makes them nauseous. Opponents of e-cigarettes say people shouldn’t be subjected to secondhand vapor until manufacturers have proven it to be safe for everyone




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