Another City Wants To Ban E-Cigarettes Despite Fact ‘There’s No Tobacco In Them’

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

Lawmakers in another U.S. city are attempting to treat vaping devices just like cigarettes despite containing no tobacco or added carcinogens.

Council members in Starkville, Miss., are backing an effort to reclassify electronic cigarettes as tobacco products in order to further restrict their use in the city. Officials in Starkville previously banned smoking on any publicly held property in the city, including parks and outdoor recreation areas, but that ban took effect before vaping emerged in the market, reports WCBI.

Roy Perkins, vice mayor and alderman of Ward 6, claims vaping represents “a new form of smoking” that poses health risks to users and those around them.

“We want the public to know that it is our intent in the city of Starkville to ban all forms of smoking,” Perkins said Tuesday, according to WCBI. “We want to be the leading force, and not only that but we also want to ensure that we promote and protect the health safety welfare of all those who come to our great city.”

Critics of the plan point out the products deliver nicotine to the user, not tobacco, reducing the harm to themselves and largely eliminating second hand risks. Residents will have a chance to weigh in during public hearings before a vote is held on the measure.

“There’s no tobacco in them,” Eli Michael, a Starkville resident, told WCBI.

A growing body of medical evidence shows that vaping is a much safer alternative to smoking. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently acknowledged the health benefits of e-cigarettes, and is now encouraging smokers to transition to vaping to reduce their health risks.

Vapers that use an e-cigarette on a daily basis vastly strengthen their chances of quitting over those relying on the patches and gum approved by the FDA, according to a study released Aug. 16 by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the Rutgers School of Public Health.

The researchers found more than half of daily vapers quit smoking within the past five years. Only 28 percent of smokers that did not try a vaping device were successful in their efforts to quit.

Despite the mounting evidence, localities across the country continue to try and restrict the products, relying on dated statistics or predetermined narratives about their alleged dangers. Researchers focused on harm reduction say efforts to misrepresent the health impacts of vaping risks undoing the progress made on improving public health and reducing the smoking rate.

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Steve Birr

Vice Reporter

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