Duluth Minnesota is the latest township to lump electronic cigarettes into the same category as tobacco. Vapor devices are now banned in all public places, including work places, restaurants and bars in this region of the country. The City Council in Duluth voted to put the ban into place just this week, in spite of the fact that there is currently no statewide law that restricts the enjoyment of electronic cigarettes on the books in the Minnesota. Unfortunately, some are predicting that this new piece of legislation could serve as an example of the entire state.
The legislation was introduced by Council Woman Jennifer Julsrud. Her argument was that she intends to put laws into place protect both children and clean air. It seems that she capitalized on last week’s reports that more minors have reported using electronic cigarettes. While we agree that minors should not be using vapor, we disagree with her reasoning. We’ve already suggested talking to kids about vapor, and limiting the sale of e cigs and mods to adults. It would be far more effective for her to push legislation that keeps vapor out of the hands of children, rather than stopping adults from enjoying it, if she wants to help the children. That would be logical legislation that we as vapers would support. In fact, this law already exists in Duluth, which makes us think that her mission is more anti-vapor than pro-children. As for clean air, there are no statistics that firmly state that vapor has negative second hand effects. There are studies that state that water vapor quickly dissipates upon being exhaled, thus reducing the chance of second hand dangers. That doesn’t even cover the fact that the jury is still out on how much of a danger vapor really is. By most accounts it is considered to be far safer than cigarette smoke. We feel that prematurely putting legislation into place based on a hunch by a lawmaker with no scientific evidence represents a detriment, not only to vapers, but to the community at large as this approach may be taken when writing other laws.
It is our hope that legislation like this does not spread. We understand that those who do not enjoy vapor are alarmed by what they perceive to be a suspicious new product. We simply feel that any laws that are put into place should be based upon fact not rhetoric. Citizens would not want other laws to be put on the books, in Duluth or any place else, that are not backed by proper research. Making such laws official based on a misunderstanding of electronic cigarettes is therefore a failure. The lawmakers in Duluth also put a ban on hookah lounges. While tobacco smoke isn’t our thing, we find it odd that they would illegalize places dedicated to willing adults indulging in an enjoyment. It comes down to limiting the rights of adults, not increasing public safety. We as vapers are happy to keep children out, and to respect non-vapers. We simply want lawmakers to be more diligent in their research before they begin limiting the use of a product that many doctors support as a superior alternative to tobacco. We also don’t like seeing different products lumped together, legally speaking, when the products should not be. Feel free to share your comments below. We look forward to hearing from you even if you support legislation like this.
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