Archive for Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Statewide smoking ban provides loophole for electronic cigarettes

July 7, 2010


— Electronic cigarettes are letting smokers "light up" in the face of the statewide smoking ban that took effect last week.

The devices look and draw like a regular cigarette and the smoker still gets a jolt of nicotine, the ingredient that causes the "buzz."

Most "e-cigarettes" have a light-emitting diode where the burning ash would normally be.

A spokesman for the Kansas Attorney General's Office said that since no burning tobacco is involved, the ersatz cigarettes are not covered by the statewide indoor smoking ban that passed the Legislature in February.

The statewide prohibition took effect across most of Kansas on Thursday. In Wichita, a 2008 city smoking ordinance remains in force, pending the outcome of a lawsuit challenging the state ban.

Users of e-cigarettes have coined the term "vaping" to describe their activity and distance it from smoking.

E-cigarettes are marketed under a variety of trade names, primarily at tobacco shops, over the Internet and in some cases, at mall kiosks.

E-cigarettes contain a small reservoir of nicotine solution. When the user puffs on the device, a heating element creates a vapor that the smoker inhales.

Manufacturers say it's safer than a real cigarette because the nicotine solution doesn't contain the carcinogenic byproducts found in burning tobacco -- and the exhalation is harmless water vapor.

Not everyone agrees.

The Food and Drug Administration banned importation of e-cigarettes last year and issued a health advisory, saying that its analysis had found some of the products contained toxic chemicals and cancer-causing agents.

The agency also expressed concern that the products, which come in a variety of flavors, could be marketed to minors.

The import ban was lifted in January by a Washington federal court judge who ruled the FDA had overstepped its authority.

A second trial is scheduled for September on slightly different questions, said Noelle Neis, a spokeswoman for Vapor Corp., manufacturer of the "Krave 500" e-cigarette.

Krave's packaging indicates it hasn't been approved by the FDA and that nicotine is highly addictive. It also carries a warning that the product should be sold to or used only by those of legal smoking age.

There are two basic kinds of e-cigarettes -- disposable and rechargeable, Neis said.

The rechargeable type have been around longer and are generally less expensive.

The disposables are more convenient, aimed at casual smokers and easier to sell in bars and other locations where smoking has been recently banned, she said.

A Krave 500 disposable e-cigarette purchased at a Wichita tobacco shop last week cost $19.95.

It's good for about 500 puffs, the equivalent of about 2 1/2 packs of regular cigarettes, Neis said.

Kansas House Bill 2221, which passed earlier this year and established the state ban, defines smoking as "possession of a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, or burning tobacco in any other form or device."

E-cigarettes are more comparable to nicotine gum, patches or non-electronic smokeless cigarettes used as stop-smoking aids, which also are immune to the ban, said Gavin Young of the attorney general's office.

"I think tobacco is the key piece," he said.


inatux 7 years, 11 months ago

I've tried one and it was pretty nice, if you're into that type of thing.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 11 months ago

I own one and it's saved my life. It helped me stop smoking regular cigarettes entirely and it's MUCH cheaper. One bottle of liquid is 25$ and will last me a month. That's compared to a former smoking habit that cost me 160$/month. I'm sure that eventually the gummint will latch on to it and tax the death out of it like they do tobacco but in the meantime I'm riding high (pun intended).

gatekeeper 7 years, 11 months ago

Just remember that e cigs still aren't "safe". You aren't getting the carcinogens that are in regular smokes, but you're still putting nicotine into your body which constricts your blood vessels, raising your blood pressure and contributing to blood clots and strokes.

Jeremy DeBoard 7 years, 11 months ago

pound for pound, nicotine is safer than chlorine. Think about that next time you take a dip in the pool.

Also, how does the law provide a loophole? It's not a ban on nicotine containing products. It's a ban on tobacco. Is it a loophole because it's too specific?

gatekeeper 7 years, 11 months ago

What a stupid statement. Pound for pound, lots of things are safer than nicotine. Doesn't mean nicotine is safe or good for you. Pound per pound, dog poo is safer for you to injest than chlorine. You going to eat dog poo?

When I take a dip in the pool, which I do each evening, I don't injest chlorine. When you swim, do you drink pool water? Small amounts of chlorine are in your drinking water. It's keeps you from getting sick from bacteria and other nasties in the water. Small amounts of nicotine in water would make your arteries constrict. Not good for you.

jaywalker 7 years, 11 months ago

Stupid statement? That's just a wholly stupid rebuttal, gate. Try again. Then again, please don't.

Jeremy DeBoard 7 years, 11 months ago

Yes, well. I'm sure it's debatable on the "safeness" of dog poo considering the amount of bacteria that resides within it. I used chlorine as an example. And you don't have to drink the pool water; chlorine absorbs through the skin and is inhaled as it evaporates out of the water. And yes, nicotine can also absorb through your skin. So the two are chemically similar with the exception of reaching "lethal" limits.

Janet Lowther 7 years, 11 months ago

So long as I don't have to breath the smoke, it's OK by me.

If you want to poison yourself go right ahead, but don't poison me while you are at it - and for me it is rather acute: A good whiff or two of second hand smoke will give me a sinus headache that will make me miserable for hours.

Jeremy DeBoard 7 years, 11 months ago

I'm guessing you're referring to actual cigarettes and not the vapor that is exhaled from using an e-cigarette.

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