A new bill introduced into the California State Senate proposes to ban the use of e-cigarettes in public spaces. Introduced by state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), the bill intends to extend the restrictions of e-cigarettes to match current laws for tobacco products for the safety of the public.
The proposed bill will make the use of e-cigarettes in places such as restaurants, bars, and places of work punishable as an infraction. The bill does not come as a surprise, given that different cancer and health groups have been encouraging more regulation on e-cigarette products, which have become a trend among smokers of all ages. The bill is sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the American Lung Association.
E-cigarettes deliver nicotine to the user in an aerosolized form, and have not been regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Despite being marketed as a "safer alternative" to smokers, nicotine addiction and poisoning is still reported in the state among e-cigarette users as well as their children.
Like the tobacco industry, the makers and sellers of e-cigarettes are likely to favor their profits over the safety of California citizens. Strict opposition to the bill has been expressed by the American Vaping Association. President Gregory Conley associated the bill with "hype and conjecture designed to scare [smokers] away from attempting to quit with...innovative technology products."
Despite these claims of safety from electronic cigarette companies, an e-cigarette is merely another device designed for delivering nicotine to a user. An e-cigarette is a cigarette, and there is no reason that they should be regulated any differently than cigarettes and cigars. If the bill passes, California will become the fourth state to regulate e-cigarette use in public spaces in the same way as traditional tobacco products.