Practically every day electronic cigarettes, known colloquially as E-cigarettes or e-cigs, are in the news. While the current consensus is that the electronic substitutes are less harmful than actual cigarettes, most doctors would say that’s about as much an accomplishment as smelling better than clothes soaked in old Marlboros. Until researchers determine that second-hand e-cigarette vapor is indeed harmless, vaping, as puffing e-cigarettes is called, needs to be regulated in public; the parameters should be like those related to actual smoking.
A major reason is that second-hand vapors, like second-hand cigarette smoke, is uninvited. While the amount of actual harm from inhaling someone else’s vapors has yet to be confirmed, the risk is there. No one wants to reap the indirect “rewards” of something based on cigarettes. To request someone take their e-cigarettes outside to the obscure corner of an office park or pub is perfectly reasonable. If the person vaping wants to avoid actual cigarettes in the smoking section, another location is easy to find.
The debate rages on as to whether or not e-cigarettes encourage people, namely teenagers, to start smoking, or if they indeed help people to quit. While evidence suggests that electronic cigarettes do indeed help ween people off of tobacco, they still contain the highly addictive drug of nicotine. Moreover, since electronic cigarettes are marketed as smoking related, and since it is illegal for minors to buy cigarettes, the best regulation should be that local and state governments ban selling e-cigarettes to people under the predetermined age mark as well. Many local governments have successfully forbade selling other smoking paraphernalia like candy cigarettes, rolling papers (as if those are used for tobacco), and even lighters.
Limiting people’s’ ability to “vape” in public helps to implement and grow a profitable industry. For years, cigar lounges, offered a couch, shot of bourbon, and Saturday’s ball game to guys who want to “hang out with the boys” while puffing on a quality Cuban or Dominican. With the advent of e-cigarette vaping, cigar lounges are facing competition from “juice bars.” The locations are so named because the tobacco substitute in e-cigs is a form of liquid, or “juice.” The ambiance in juice bars is similar to cigar lounges. The main difference is a Macanudo is replaced with a tobacco-free, smoke-free substitute offering a myriad of flavored juices; flavors range from cherry to coffee.
The act of vaping e-cigarettes is currently acknowledged as somewhere between fairly to much safer than smoking cigarettes. Receiving the second-hand vapor is not as risky as inhaling second-hand smoke. However the inherent intrusiveness of blowing e-cigarette vapors into the air, justifies requiring those who enjoy the habit to find a more remote location. Additionally, as the state has the obligation to protect minors, legally preventing children and teenagers from purchasing e-cigarettes is well within reasonable parameters. Electronic cigarettes are here to stay, along with real cigarettes, pipes, and cigars., and while no one has verbalized the need for banning anything outright, parameters like health-based regulations should be in place.
By Ian Erickson
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