Many news articles discuss about how e-cigarette help smokers “get around” smoking bans in public places. They generally make it sound like smokers are somehow doing something wrong by using e-cigarettes where smoking is banned. This is not true and here’s why:
The e-cigarette does not burn or produce smoke. Rather it produces vapor, the majority of which is made up of propylene glycol, a substance found in food, medicines, and beauty products. Smoking bans were put into place to protect business employees and patrons from second hand smoke. E-Cigarettes don’t produce any smoke, including second hand smoke.
So if there is no evidence that second hand vapor is harmful; which there isn’t, then this is all about an action. Anti-smoking groups have done such a good job of demonizing smoking over the years that it is hard for people to see beyond the action. They see someone vaping and they assume it must be bad.
There are those who argue smoking is so bad that it is ok to generalize the action as being dangerous, without regard to scientific differences. But creating policy based on misconceptions, regardless of the end goal, is an infringement upon individual rights and business owners’ rights.
So how should those using e-cigarettes proceed when in public? Here are our recommendations:
1) Avoid using your e-cigarette in public places such as libraries, hospitals, and schools. These are public places funded by public money and vaping openly here will only generate negatively publicity.
2) Before using your e-cigarette in a privately owned establishment such as a bar, restaurant, or coffee shop, talk to the manager or owner. Show them your e-cig and explain the technology. Very often they will be ok with it and you may even find someone who is in need of an e-cigarette. If they are not ok with it, there is always another bar/restaurant.
3) Do your best to educate those around you. The more people who understand the difference between vaping and smoking, the better chance there is of sound public policy based on science and not anti-smoking propaganda.