PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Some local lawmakers are supporting a proposed ban on e-cigarettes.
If the plan goes through, they could be banned from places like schools, offices and cabs.
Opponents say the ban is a violation of personal choice.
“They’ve helped millions of smokers quit smoking, they’ve never created nicotine dependence among non-smokers, they’re not gateways to cigarette smoking for teens, and they pose no harm to non-users,” Smoke Free PA Founder Bill Godshall said.
But, there’s some concern about e-cigarettes and what’s released into the air while people are using them in public spaces.
“We learned the hard way the harmful effects of second hand tobacco smoke. Let’s not make the same mistake with e-cigarettes,” a Children’s Hospital representative said.
“We also do not have the longevity studies on these devices as we do with combustible tobacco yet,” Brittany Huffman of Tobacco Free Allegheny said.
Recently, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald submitted a bill for consideration that would ban the use of e-cigarettes in places where smoking is already prohibited. The proposal has brought about a lot of public comment. Some feel vaping has helped with productivity in the workplace.
“If the ban is passed, that same employee will be forced to take a 20-minute break with other traditional smokers. This is very unproductive, disruptive, costly and may lead to the employee reverting back to regular cigarettes,” one man said. “It’s an infringement on business owners’ private rights and the county should not be dictating what a business owner can and cannot do in their business.”
“I feel that this is a defamation of a product. I feel that we should not be categorized with cigarettes,” a vape shop owner said.
In the first move of action, County Council decided to refer the bill to the health committee for further review, which came with mixed reaction.
“You have the right to breathe clean air. You have the right to not have your air impinged upon by those kinds of chemicals and devices,” Patrick Dowd, of Allies for Children, said.