Utah E-Cigarette Ban Based On Junk Science

Electronic cigarettes ("e-cigs") are not popular among politicians. Several states have tried to regulate or tax the smoking alternatives in some way, and now legislators in Utah are attempting to prohibit e-cig "vaping" in the same public spaces where smoking is outlawed. The legislation (HB245) is undoubtedly meant to promote public health, but it's also unnecessary and based on junk science.

This issue has already been discussed at length, and there's no need to be too repetitive. But let's look briefly at the arguments the bill's proponents are making in favor of the public ban on e-cigs.

According to the Desert News, "Manufacturers of electronic cigarettes claim the battery-powered device is safer than cigarettes, which use tobacco. However, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, e-cigarettes contain harmful levels of nicotine." False. The amount of nicotine contained in the glycerin-based solution used in e-cigs is comparable to the amount found in traditional cigarettes. In great enough amounts, nicotine is indeed toxic. But e-cig users are unlikely to experience any harm, because that usually requires multiple sources of nicotine. The Food and Drug Administration has also cautiously concluded that the devices are safer than cigarettes.

"There is no safe level of tobacco smoke," said David Neville, spokesman for the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program at the Utah Department of Health. With tobacco cigarettes a user generally knows how much nicotine is being consumed. ... When it comes to an electronic cigarette, you just don't know ..." This is also entirely false. E-cigs contain no tobacco and give off no smoke whatsoever, as the paper admitted above. Furthermore, when consumers purchase the nicotine solution for e-cigs they have to specify the strength of the liquid. And no manufacturer offers it in strengths smokers haven't been exposed to from smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.

More to the point, a clinical trial in BMC Public Health concluded that e-cigs can help smokers reduce or eliminate their tobacco consumption "... without causing significant side effects." 

E-cigs could save a lot of lives. And it's time anti-smoking advocates begin endorsing their use as a way to get smokers off tobacco, which actually does kill people.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Cameron English

I cover public health, nutrition and science education for PolicyMic. I also write critical thinking exercises for high school science textbooks. My previous work includes freelance writing and editing for Science 2.0. I've never been paid by Monsanto for my opinions, though that would be awesome.

MORE FROM

Watchdog groups sue Trump for deleting tweets, allegedly violating Presidential Records Act

Trump's deleted tweets may come back to haunt him.

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Pizzagate' shooter gets 4-year prison sentence, lawyers urged judge to deter vigilantism

Welch stormed a Washington, D.C., pizza place and shot off a firearm because of the internet.

Watchdog groups sue Trump for deleting tweets, allegedly violating Presidential Records Act

Trump's deleted tweets may come back to haunt him.

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Pizzagate' shooter gets 4-year prison sentence, lawyers urged judge to deter vigilantism

Welch stormed a Washington, D.C., pizza place and shot off a firearm because of the internet.