Smokers have always been at the receiving end of laws that force them to smoke only in designated smoking areas. This is understandable considering that smoking and second-hand smoke have proven themselves hazardous. What about vapers or the people who use vaporizers? It would seem that they’re about to suffer the same fate as the smokers.
California recently passed a bill than bans vaping at all places where smoking is also prohibited. Although the law is still awaiting Assembly discussion, UCLA has already implemented the ban on April 22, on the day that smoking was also legally prohibited.
Vapers would argue that they shouldn’t be punished like smokers. After all, they don’t exactly inhale real smoke. They just use electronic cigarettes to inhale and exhale the vapor of juice containing liquid nicotine and different flavors. In other words, vaping is “cleaner” in that it does not contain tar and other carcinogenic chemicals that make cigarette smoking a truly sinful vice.
For those who don’t know, electronic cigarettes usually have three parts: the cartridge which contains the juice, vaporizer and battery pack to power the vaporizer.
People who are in favor of banning electronic cigarettes argue that electronic cigarettes and the ingredients in the juice are unknown. Thus the risks are also unknown. In the words of Tobacco Policy International president Stella Bialous, electronic cigarettes are untried, untested and unknown.
The law is, of course, putting vapers on the edge. While most vapers right now can smoke anywhere without a problem, when the law is passed at the Assembly, it will only be a matter of time before vapers share their vapors with the smoke of smokers. This would be counterproductive as vapers use portable vaporizers to quit smoking to improve their health.
In any case, the ongoing debate on electronic cigarettes stems from the fact that very few studies have ever been on made on electronic cigarettes and their effects. The few studies that were made focused only on a handful of brands.
As it is right now, different brands of electronic cigarettes make different emissions from one another, making the process of assessing their general risk even harder. For example, in a 2009 study made by the FDA, it was found that some brands contained trace amounts of toxins like diethylene glycol, a known component of antifreeze
But up until this point, no studies have shown large amount of toxic chemicals are released into the atmosphere with vaping. That’s according Dr. Michael Siegel, a Boston University School of Public Health professor.
Dr. Siegel stresses that since vapor dissipates much more quickly than tobacco, it’s highly likely that the health risk posed by vaping is very low. Also, even though vaporizers look like tobacco cigarettes, there are no studies that prove kids are curious about vaping them or that they find them cool.
Anyway, with California being the first state to ban vaporizers, vapers will just have to wait and see if the other states will follow.