E-cigarettes give smokers trying to quit the habit another option. The electronic cigarette hit the U.S. from China five years ago and it appears many users believe it is safer and healthier than the nicotine sticks. The use has surged as smokers hope to find something that soothes the nerves offering a pleasant taste and lowers the risk of lung and throat cancers. However, the regulations on electronic or e-cigarettes vapor draw remain hazy.
To date, only three states in the union have specific laws outlawing the use of e-cigarettes where smoking is prohibited by law. North Dakota, New Jersey and Utah say no to the vapor emitting alternative to nicotine. This is reported by the American Non Smokers’ Rights Foundation. Presently, other states vary in both having codes and policies and how seriously they are enforced.
Municipality codes are following suit. It depends on where smokers are when they decide to inhale vapors from e-cigarettes. Diane Ambrose directs Citizens Library in Washington. Patrons noticed a sign recently posted on entrances that left little room for interpretation. It warned patrons to not smoke near the vicinity. Ambrose says, “The sign was posted after a few patrons were seen with e-cigarettes even though they did not use them inside of the facility.” For now the sign is being used to front load library visitors of what they can expect down the line.
State officials are being more aggressive in working to put specific policy into place. They cite a concern with minors who view use of e-cigarettes as cool. It may be that they see it as a healthier option as do many adults. At any rate state officials are working to curb what they see as a bad idea waiting to blow up.
Taking pro-active measures State Sen. Tim Solobay, D-Canonsburg, introduced a bill banning the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. Approved in December by the Senate Judiciary Committee it is waiting on the Senate to give full approval. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report in September citing increased use of e-cigarettes with minors. In the report junior high and high school students use of e-cigarettes doubled in the last year. Solobay displayed concern sharing in a news release that laws have to be put into place immediately to address “consumers identifying with new trends.” Measures are being looked into to protect impressionable minors more than to stop adults from having options to nicotine use. There is no way for policy makers to know if a persons e-cigarette is nicotine free. They find it best to take measures to keep e-cigarettes out the hands and mouths of minors.
At this point colleges and universities are handling the issue of implementing and enforcing polices on an individual basis. Institutions are full of young adults striving to find their independence. The development of critical thinking skills are necessary for success in real world outside of campus gates. At places of higher learning, vapor regulations over the use of electronic cigarettes remain hazy. For now, students can use e-cigarettes on campus.
Communications Manager, Rob Reid, says Washington & Jefferson College will wait until the spring to address the issue when a new student code handbook comes out.
At another institution of higher learning, Robin King, the senior vice president for enrollment and university relations at Waynesburg University says the matter will be addressed in the coming future. King views the issue as a matter that will be up for discussion down the line.
Businesses and municipalities will all address the issue as regulations become more aggressive. For now the electronic cigarettes and regulation over the vapor remain hazy. Consumers not quite sure if it okay to smoke should keep an eye for signage that speaks to the issue.
By C. Imani Williams