Electronic cigarette bans are popping up here and there as the practice of “vaping” catches on — but the striking thing about every justification for one is how utterly based in nonsense it appears to be.
When electronic cigarette bans were still a thing of the future, many people first saw an e-cig at a mall kiosk, where they were widely sold under names like “Smoking Anywhere.” Part of the draw, of course, was that smokers or nicotine-addicted people wouldn’t have to go outside in the rain, snow, or glaring sun to have a smoke — electronic cigarettes are a simple water vapor, differing little from an asthma inhaler.
But as people began to quit smoking and pick up vaping, electronic cigarette bans and sanctions were floated — most commonly, because the devices “look like smoking.” People with black winter hats often “look like burglars,” and chefs at times may “look like murderers with big knives,” but to our knowledge none of those things are being banned yet. (E-cigs don’t even give you hathead.)
Marketwatch covered recent machinations to ban e-cigarettes in places smoking is banned, ostensibly to prevent people from living their lives free of restriction and to make smoking cessation as difficult as possible — quoting one lawmaker as invoking the specter of marijuana to justify banning pot-free personal vaporizers or e-cigs from as many places as possible.
Massachusetts State Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez drew on drug fears and “think about the children” shortcuts to justify an electronic cigarette ban, suggesting adults should be prevented from using e-cigarettes because kids like to smoke dope:
“Do you want to see a 15-year-old with a vaporizer making like he has an e-cigarette but there’s grass in it, the liquid version of marijuana? You could vaporize anything if you put it in liquid form.”
Please, no one tell Rep. Sanchez about what you can do with a Coke can if you’re without a pipe or rolling papers, lest he ban soda and portable beverages too.
Sanchez added that “in the hallway of the school, I can’t light up a cigarette, but I can light up my e-cigarette,” which seems like something that could be addressed by… I don’t know, banning e-cigarettes in schools on a district level rather than legislating the people of the state of Massachusetts as a whole, a great number of whom are autonomous adults legally able to make decisions for themselves?
For vapers, the electronic cigarette ban idea looms large and irritatingly so, as many who vape do so after years trying to quit tobacco. However, it will likely be many more before the permissibility of the act in public is a reasonably settled manner.
Do you think electronic cigarette bans are based in ignorance, or is the fact that e-cigs look like cigarettes reason enough to ban them?