September 9, 2014
Dear Mayor Winstead and members of the Bloomington City Council,
Minnesota Vapers Advocacy (MNVA) is a grassroots organization formed by consumers and concerned citizens to provide a unified voice in opposition to unnecessary and unwarranted legislation related to electronic cigarette devices.
Our guiding principles support common sense legislation such as age verification for purchase and child-proof caps for e-liquid containers; items we supported during the recent state legislative session.
We also believe that business owners have the right to choose whether or not e-cigarettes and their use are permitted within their establishment based on their own beliefs and policies. Further, it is our position that a vote in favor of restricting adult access, unfair taxation or limiting the use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) is a vote in support of smoking, COPD, cancer, stillbirths, SIDS, and death of Minnesota citizens.
For many current smokers, traditional quit methods are unsuccessful. ClearWay MN’s program data indicates only a 30-35% success rate at assisting Minnesotans in quitting tobacco for 1 full year.
Dr. Anne Joseph of the University of Minnesota testified earlier this year at state legislative hearings that vaping is not smoking and that “combustible tobacco products are the real enemy.” The City of Bloomington’s current proposal seeks to redefine smoking to include use of a product that does not create smoke.
The State Legislature discussed this issue in the last legislative session and determined that completely banning vaping indoors was going too far. The proposal before the Bloomington City Council aims to go even further, banning vaping at outdoor parks, beaches, and walking trails. A ban of this nature may make sense for a product which creates significant waste, such as the butts from combustible tobacco cigarettes. ENDS produce no such waste, so outdoor bans are unjustified.
The primary basis for the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act and public smoking bans throughout the country was conclusive scientific proof that second hand smoke presents a risk to individuals exposed to it in public areas. MNVA is not aware of any peer-reviewed scientific study which concludes that second hand vapor presents any meaningful risk to public health. In fact, several studies conclude that there is no significant risk at all:
Comparison of the effects of e-cigarette vapor and cigarette smoke on indoor air quality
“For all byproducts measured, electronic cigarettes produce very small exposures relative to tobacco cigarettes. The study indicates no apparent risk to human health from e-cigarette emissions based on the compounds analyzed.”
Peering through the mist: What does the chemistry of contaminants in electronic cigarettes tell us about health risks
“Even when compared to workplace standards for involuntary exposures, and using several conservative (erring on the side of caution) assumptions, the exposures from using e-cigarettes fall well below the threshold for concern for compounds with known toxicity.”
Levels of selected carcinogens and toxicants in vapour from electronic cigarettes
“Our findings are consistent with the idea that substituting tobacco cigarettes with e-cigarettes may substantially reduce exposure to selected tobacco-specific toxicants.”
Secondhand Exposure to Vapors From Electronic Cigarettes
“Using an e-cigarette in indoor environments may involuntarily expose nonusers to nicotine but not to toxic tobacco-specific combustion products.”
Dr. Michael Siegel of Boston University School of Public Health offers clarification to this study: “In order to inhale the equivalent amount of nicotine that would be inhaled by actively smoking one cigarette, a bystander would have to spend 12 days in a space filled with e-cigarette vapor, at continuous exposure levels.”
To summarize, the primary catalyst for a public smoking ban does not apply to vapor products as there is no risk to public health. In a public use ban scenario, the City would require that ENDS users congregate in the same areas that smokers do, exposing them to secondhand smoke and its known public health risks. Effectively, the proposed public use ban runs counter to public health as it will create additional exposure to secondhand smoke that does not exist today.
Bloomington is home to several locally owned and operated small businesses offering e-cigarette products. These businesses provide adult consumer options as well as a support network for those seeking to reduce or eliminate tobacco products from their lifestyle. Banning vaping in all public spaces creates an explicit disincentive for current smokers to try these products and drive all future sales to other cities.
Under the current proposal, the City of Bloomington will compel former smokers to be exposed to secondhand smoke, remove consumer choice and support continued use of tobacco cigarettes in the City.
On behalf of Bloomington consumers, MNVA strongly opposes Bloomington’s public use ban on e-cigarettes and hopes that the council will vote against this measure.
If you have any questions or concerns, MNVA would be happy to assist you. We are also willing to offer an educational session on ENDS to any or all City Council members who may be unfamiliar with the components, technology, and terminology of the devices.
Thank you for your time,
Minnesota Vapers Advocacy
For questions, concerns, or to schedule an educational session on ENDS, please contact Chris Tipton at firstname.lastname@example.org.