Down in Minnesota, there’s been some kind of victory, albeit small. Minnesota isn’t known for trailblazing in any respects, But the events of the past few days have shown that there can be some intelligent behavior resulting from lawmaking. The House Senate committee in Minnesota ruled against including electronic cigarettes in indoor air laws. If electronic cigarettes were to be included in these laws, then it would’ve resulted in a situation where using an e-cig would be impossible in an indoor public place.
Like New York City, which went the other way, Minnesota was struggling with the idea of allowing vapers to vape in buildings.We have said many times before that we respect what each state and city chooses to do. It’s not easy to make a quick decision on indoor vaping. It’s also not easy to reconcile the needs of electronic cigarette users with those of local government, and indeed the public at large.Minnesota decided to hang fire a little bit on electronic cigarette usage indoors. We think this is sensible, and it shows that the picture is not entirely bad for vapers.
Looking at the positives of this whole situation, Cap O’Rourke, of the Independent Vapour Retailers of Minnesota, had this to say: “We’re happy that businesses can continue to make their own decisions and we can wait until the science can show us definitive proof of their health effects,”
Source: Winona Daily News
What O’Rourke says about businesses making their own decisions is very true. A small store that has one or two people at the table in back drinking coffee and using electronic cigarettes may well choose to keep things the way they are. If those one or two people at the back of the store are longtime customers and they’ve asked permission, it’s probably not going to make a big difference to that storeowner’s bottom-line. On the other hand, the owner of a bar on the other side of town may face huge amounts of pressure from her patrons because they are seeing too many people wanting to vape as they have a drink. That owner may decide that she has no option but to abandon the use of electronic cigarettes in her establishment. Many business owners are making conscious decisions that relate to their understanding of their own patrons. It’s important that this conscious decision-making is allowed to continue, giving freedom of choice to anyone who has an indoor space used by the public. A mixture of approaches would benefit vapers
What we hope to see is a mixture in cities worldwide, where some people will have chosen to not allow vaping in their establishments, while others have embraced it. This is real choice for businesses, and it shows an element of democracy too. Businesses are the lifeblood of towns and cities around the world. They know how to run their establishments, so if they choose to allow vaping, Then so be it.
O’Rourke also mentions information about health benefits. The jury is still out on the health benefits of electronic cigarettes. No one is claiming they are safe, But people are generally coming around to the idea that they are safer than tobacco cigarettes simply because of their ingredients.
The belief that O’Rourke has that it is worth-while waiting for scientific evidence regarding electronic cigarettes is all about good thinking. It is important that people choose to wait for evidence before big decisions are made.
Facts and patience will help the e-cig industry
All of this points to some simple facts. Generally speaking, the majority of the human race is open to considering all aspects of the new technology. This is why lawmakers in Minnesota are waiting for more evidence, and listening to the voices of business-owners before they jump in and outlaw electronic cigarettes in public buildings and indoor spaces.
The piece does make a point of some ‘anti-smoking’ groups worrying about second-hand vapour. For a ridiculously ignorant point of view on this we go to a Dr Glantz, the American Legacy Foundation Distinguished Professor of Tobacco Control at the University of California, San Francisco.
“I don’t buy the harm reduction argument that just because these are less polluting than conventional cigarettes it makes them acceptable. If you have a roomful of people vaping, you will still be getting pollution levels. Compared to traditional cigarettes, sure, these aren’t as bad. Compared to clean air, they are.”
We are glad Dr Glantz isn’t on the lawmaking panel down in Minnesota. But even he recognizes that e-cigs aren’t as bad as tobacco cigarettes. Maybe it’s the way he says it, but he just sounds like he is talking himself into knots. He says he doesn’t ‘buy’ the harm reduction argument when he pretty much, at the same time, admits it is acceptable.
We welcome the small victory in Minnesota, and confidently expect to see more local government offices making the same kinds of noises.