It’s so nice to see that our tax dollars are being put to good use. There are no lengths our government officials won’t go to protect us, especially when it comes to our health and our children. Remember the mandatory glove policy Los Angeles passed recently for chefs? Was it necessary? Probably not. I mean, they were already required by law to wash their hands with soap before working with food. But hey, germaphobes can rest easy knowing that the hands that touched their food were extra squeaky clean.
Most recently, Los Angeles and Long Beach, following in line with New York, Boston, and Chicago, decided to ban the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs or vapes) in public places, including bars, restaurants, indoor work places, as well as parks, beaches and restaurant patios. Each city has given a variety of reasons for this ban, the main reason being to protect children from confusing electronic cigarette smoking with smoking actual cigarettes. Other reasons have included the fear of second hand smoking, and other “potential” health risks. I put potential in quotation marks because they have yet to actually name what those health risks are or provide any sort of scientific backing for their unfounded claims. The ban itself is confusing on several levels.
For one, banning the use of e-cigs in public places does nothing to protect the children from seeing other people vaping. With the growing popularity of e-cigs, from my experience anyways, you see people doing it where ever you go. There is no way to shield children from seeing it. By the Council’s logic, since the kids will inevitably see it, they’ll probably be just as confused, and maybe even pick up smoking anyhow, right? I’m not saying we shouldn’t protect the children. It’s just that there are better ways to go about it without spinning one’s wheels.
What about the health risks? Here’s a known fact. Studies have shown that a typical cigarette smoke contains thousands of harmful chemicals including tar, acetone (that’s right…nail polish remover), chromium, lead, carbon monoxide…the list goes on and on. So it makes sense to ban smoking indoors or anywhere near children.
On the other hand, e-cigs contains about 3 or more ingredients: It has nicotine, which isn’t all that harmful, just addictive, propylene glycol, which is considered safe by the FDA, as in non-toxic, and then flavoring, also typically non-toxic. Any potential health risk posed by e-cigs is so minor compared to the dangers posed by cigarettes that raising concerns about the use of e-cigs seems like hyperbole.
In addition, this law doesn’t really change all that much. A lot of work places already have a policy regarding e-cigs. Some have already banned its use inside, whereas others feel like it’s no big deal and allow people to use it at their desk. Not a lot of people vape in bars as it is. I’m sure some bars have their own rules regarding vapes. So it begs the question, why apply this ordinance in areas where children rarely go?
Aside from the usual conspiracy theories, like how the tobacco companies paid the council or that it was a political to look good in front of their constituents, whoever they are, there aren’t any reasonable reasons as to why we need this law. Besides, why waste time on something like this when there are bigger problems at hand, like California’s water crisis?