Mar
19
2014

Maryland to go after e-cigs for… very little reason, as far as I can tell.

I’m having real difficulty interpreting this as anything except legislators allowing their existing fears of The Demon Tobacco to turn into religious mania.

Only four states — New Jersey, Utah, Arkansas and North Dakota — have passed legislation banning the use of e-cigarettes in public places.

Now, Maryland lawmakers are weighing a measure that would prohibit the use of e-cigarettes wherever traditional cigarettes are banned.

The bill, sponsored by Delegate Aruna Miller, D-Montgomery, would place e-cigarettes under the definition of “smoking” in the Maryland Clean Indoor Air Act of 2007.

Compared to cigarettes – which I no longer smoke, and haven’t for a decade by now – e-cigs are practically hits of pure freaking oxygen. I understand the desire to check the effects of them on the lungs, but here’s a spoiler warning: it’s not likely to be worse than inhaling 110 degree, carcinogenic smoke on a regular basis.  But that’s not the real problem with e-cigs, in my opinion.  No, I think that the real problem that legislators have with e-cigs is that there’s a lot less justification for sin-taxing the things.

I know, I know: I am cynical.  And?

Via

Moe Lane

18 Comments

  • Randomized says:

    That and the e-cig manufacturers and vendors haven’t paid their tithes.

    I can’t wait for the inevitable e-joint. I suspect it’s already here though

    • garfieldjl says:

      They’re being banned in areas that smoking cigarettes is also banned, so I don’t follow that logic.

      Now if they were being banned in areas that smoking cigarettes wasn’t banned, I’d agree with you.

      The source article could have been more clear about this, such as underlining the words that clarify what the proposed legislation is actually doing.

  • garfieldjl says:

    Moe, I have to respectfully disagree with you based on the information you provided.

    If you’ll look closely at what you quoted, it is apparent they want e-cigarettes banned in the same places that cigarettes are banned. It’s entirely possible that there have been all kinds of complaints concerning people confusing e-cigarettes with cigarettes (believe it or not people actually can be that stupid) and so they’re just adding e-cigarettes to the smoking in public places ban.

    • Herp McDerp says:

      But e-cigs are not cigarettes. Banning them in the places where cigarettes are banned makes as much sense as banning nicotine patches where cigarettes are banned.
       
      It’s entirely possible that there have been all kinds of complaints concerning people confusing e-cigarettes with cigarettes …
       
      There’s a big difference between “it’s possible that …” and “here’s the evidence that …” As you wrote elsewhere in this comment thread, “you could be right but I haven’t seen enough evidence to reach that conclusion yet.”
       
      It’s also entirely possible that complaints from non-smokers are completely non-existent, and that this proposed legislation is simply the result of people protecting their established sources of income. More entirely possible, I’d say …

      • garfieldjl says:

        I’ll acknowledge that is a possibility as well.

        However, I can honestly see politicians having panic attacks over the vapor that e-cigs give off. Remember some idiots in congress nearly banned water a few decades ago, thinking it was a harmful pollutant. So, it could just be the politicians are complete idiots.

  • Crawford says:

    Heard the other day that 30 state attorneys-general wrote a national grocery chain’s executives, “asking” the chain to stop selling tobacco products.
    .
    Makes me want to plant a field of it. And I *hate* tobacco.

  • Luke says:

    Just to note the obvious, states get a lot of money from the cigarette sin tax.
    Somebody who vapes does not pay this tax.
    e-cigs have proven to be very effective at getting smokers to stop smoking (and take up vaping).
    States don’t like losing revenue.
    Pharmaceutical companies make a lot of money selling nicotine patches and gum, both of which are more expensive and less effective than e-cigs. Pharmaceutical companies employ lots of lobbyists, and make lots of donations to political campaigns.
    Eliminating competitors from the marketplace via regulation is something the government has become enthusiastic about. For the right price, of course.

    • wennejunk says:

      Luke, you are astoundingly cynical.

      Please don’t stop, I love it.

    • garfieldjl says:

      To quote the item that Moe Lane quoted…

      “…wherever traditional cigarettes are banned.”

      They are talking about banning e-cigarette smoking in the same places where they have banned smoking cigarettes.

      Now if this proposed ban starts to include places where cigarette smoking isn’t banned, then you’d have a case.

      • Luke says:

        It is rather firmly established that e-cigs are much less dangerous than cigarettes. No heat, no smoke, no second-hand smoke, no by-products, just nicotine and an inert carrier.
        So it’s preposterous on its face that the government could regulate them more strictly than cigarettes.
        .
        But they *are* trying to regulate them as strictly as cigarettes.
        This, while not regulating other competing nicotine-delivery systems that have been on the market far longer.

        • Luke says:

          Also, a quick search sting in the search engine of my choice results in a number of news articles noting that pharmaceutical companies are pushing the laws.

        • garfieldjl says:

          Except e-cigs do give off that vapor which I don’t know what’s in that vapor but it could be people were having panic attacks.

          A lot of smokers are used to taking a step outside to smoke anyways, so I actually think this would benefit in the attempt to stop smoking because they aren’t changing their pattern of behavior.

          Again, you could be right but I haven’t seen enough evidence to reach that conclusion yet.

  • Catseyes says:

    I have to stick with Luke on this if you look for the money trail it’s going to lead you to the big Pharma companies who make a lot of money off the gum and patches. E-cigs are a far more effective way for smokers to quit smoking so they are trying to kill off the impending competition as quickly as possible. In short the E-cig opposition has been bought and paid for by big Pharma.

    • garfieldjl says:

      If you can find campaign donations from big pharma to politicians over this issue then you have a case.

      I’m not entirely convinced of it, I can honestly see people having panic attacks thinking an e-cig is a cigarette (never underestimate human stupidity).

      I’m going to watch this to see if they start trying to ban e-cigs in places that they don’t already ban smoking cigarettes, then I’ll be convinced of Luke’s argument.

      I nearly lost my dad to a heart-attack because he was a smoker. Anything that makes it easier for people to give up smoking is a good thing in my opinion, but I can see an argument as to why this legislation may actually have merit. I need more data points before I can jump on the band wagon that this piece of legislation is trying to pay off big pharma.

      • Catseyes says:

        It’s not so much the fear that E-cigs are a better smoking cessation product than the gum and the nicotine patches. It’s the well founded fear among big Pharma that E-cigs are cutting into the number of young smokers. Young people seem to prefer it, it’s clean and safe. You don’t smell like tobacco and after a couple drags you can drop it in your pocket.
        No future smokers means no need for smoking cessation products.

        • acat says:

          The weird part is tax revenue should be comparable ..
          .
          Mew

          • Phil Davis says:

            acat, I think you have hit on the magic words that are the true drivers legislation like this. ‘Tax Revenue’, or ‘why is (insert state name here) not getting what we consider the appropriate cut of this new revenue source?’

            Honestly? The ‘people might mistake it for cigarette smoke’ holds the least possible weight for me out of any argument that can be made. I have stood in an open air parking garage in Tacoma where you could barely stand to breath the air from the pulp mills while listening to the anti-smoking harpies excoriating the tobacco sinners for damaging their delicate harpy bodies. Color my cynical about ‘this is for your own good’ bans.

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