Ban e-cigarettes in indoor public places

Editor’s  Note:  The Nanny State never dies.

St Louis Dispatch

 I write as a concerned St. Louis resident, consistently disgusted at the fact that I am offered an e-cigarette every time I pass by Supreme Nicotine, a kiosk in the center of the Galleria mall. Not only am I offered an e-cigarette, I am forced to breathe in the smoke from the people who work there — displaying the “cleanliness” of their product. No one should have to worry about breathing in smoky air while they’re trying to get their holiday shopping done.

I have been considering writing a letter about e-cigarettes for quite some time now — debating whether or not I had the right to tell a business such as Supreme Nicotine they should not be allowed to demonstrate their product, or to tell a mall to change its polices — but after recently visiting the Galleria and seeing how busy the mall was with holiday shoppers, I’ve decided to write a letter to get the Galleria mall, West County mall and any other shopping centers that currently have e-cigarette kiosks to extend their smoke-free policies to e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes may be able to serve a purpose as a smoking cessation aid, but there is not substantial research that supports this, and regardless of whether or not it is, the mall is not the right place to market the product. The use of e-cigarettes should be banned, just like any other form of smoke, indoors in public places. Since e-cigarettes look so similar to real cigarettes, others may see someone smoking and believe they can smoke in this public place too.

I urge the Galleria mall, West County mall and all other shopping centers to prohibit the use of e-cigarettes indoors. ‘Tis the season for smoke-free shopping, and maybe for some of you, ‘tis the season to quit smoking.

Ryan Bell  •  St. Louis

19 comments. Leave a Reply

  1. Anonymous

    “Set aside the preposterous notion that a product that produces no secondhand smoke would be included in a public smoking ban. Researchers at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley reviewed the evidence on the safety of e-cigarettes, and concluded that a “preponderance… shows them to be much safer than tobacco cigarettes and comparable in toxicity to conventional nicotine replacement products.”
    In other words, though our knowledge of the health effects of e-cigarettes may be imperfect, we know for sure that they are considerably safer than lighting up a traditional cigarette. It seems public health advocates are more interested in controlling public behavior than seeing smokers choose a less harmful alternative.
    History suggests that prohibition is not an effective public health strategy. Smokers aren’t stupid – they understand that smoking is unhealthy and their flight to e-cigarettes may in fact reflect their desperate efforts to reduce their health risks. Instead of embracing their choice, the FDA has decided that a government-approved failure (like NRT or going “cold turkey”) is better than an unapproved success. An interesting story indeed if smokers themselves who wish to quit are in fact being stymied by those who claim to promote public health.”

  2. tnt56 ECF

    Please do some research on this topic. It has been proven that there is no second hand health effects from the “Vapor that is produced” Please before you make these type of statements look at the facts, not opinions.
    More information may be found at CASAA.

  3. gimmieshelter31 ECF

    I agree, Mr. Bell, no one should have to breathe in smoky air while trying to holiday shop.

    Where I believe you are mistaken, and a simple Google search may be of benefit, is that ecigarettes produce zero smoke as there is no combustion.

    Ecigs are not a smoking cessation device but rather a tobacco harm reduction method of delivering nicotine that have allowed me to reduce my intake of smoked tobacco cigarettes to zero for over a year and a half.
    There is very little to no nicotine in the exhaled vapor, as the nicotine is absorbed in the tissues of the mouth and nasal passages.

    Did you know that nicotine is in many of the foods you and I eat? To name just a few :

    Nicotine is not a carcinogen and there are no known carcinogens present in the vapor emited from ecigarettes.

    Just because ecigarettes emit a vapor that looks like smoke should not be reason enough to ban them indoors. Especially when your reasoning is since it looks like smoking, people will light tobacco because they would think it is allowed.

    Please, Mr. Bell, the federal government already controls enough of our daily choices. Please educate yourself before trying to instigate a ban on that of which you do not understand.

    While we may not know the long term effects of using these devices, we do know that tobacco will kill you. I assert to you, ecigarettes are not tobacco.

    If your assertion is that ecigarettes are not government approved, let me ask you, are tobacco cigarettes government approved?

    Tobacco cigarettes are the only product, when used as intended, that is known to cause sickness, disease, and death.

    Nicotine is addictive,yet caffeine is also. Where is the call to ban coffee, tea, chocolate, etc.?

  4. Lori

    Ryan Bell: There is no smoke in e-cigs, you have been misinformed.

    The mall remains SMOKE FREE! And is a perfect place to demonstrate the e-cig with its vapor that dissipates quickly with no “smoke” smell.

  5. Anonymous

    It may look like smoke to you but it is harmless water vapor.

    I understand that you may feel threatened if you are being approached by an agressive salesperson about a product that you clearly don’t need.

    While I empathise with your situation, rest assured that you or other shoppers are not in any danger of health issues due to the vapor from electronic cigarettes.

  6. Anonymous

    There isn’t second hand Vape. Read the IVAQS study done out of New Jersey by a reputable lab. Vaping will save millions of lives as it gets people off of smoking cigarettes, and unlike ART’s it really WORKS. Read the electronic cigarette forums for thousands and thousands of testimonials. People will always complain about something.. They don’t like a program on TV they send complaints. Change the channel! If this person doesn’t like vaping then don’t vape. If he doesn’t like Supreme Nicotines methods of operation complain to them. Don’t try and punish everyone else in the USA who benefits from vaping over smoking or those businesses who operate with good sales practices. We still live in a free country. You don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, which seems to be a more and more common occurance in our country and it NEEDS TO STOP. The entire world does NOT revolve around you Mr. Bell. Forceing others to change to suit your own needs and desires is a communist attitude. Lastly it’s not smoke. it’s Vapor… look up vapor in the dictionary. It disperses quickly and does not stink like combustion of cigarettes i.e. “smoke”
    I don’t condone that buisnesses practices. Pushy sales people are pushy, but if i don’t want a used car I ignore them and walk away. If you don’t want an e cig walk away.

  7. Anonymous

    Arts above is a typo. that is NRT’s Nicotine Replacement Therapies

  8. Berylanna

    Mr. Bell, the vapor given off by e-cigarettes is similar to coffee vapor and cooking vapor, and considerably less allergenic than aftershave, cologne, or perfume.

    Vaping electronic cigarettes should be banned wherever coffee, cooking, and/or perfumes are banned.

    Last time I went through a mall, none of these things were banned there.

  9. electricman

    There is no safe form of tobacco use. All forms contain nicotine and cause addiction and health problems

    Nicotine dependence is an addiction to tobacco products caused by the drug nicotine.

    I think you will soon be full of BS replies from ecf …they posted a link and was told to attack this blog .Anything that hurts business of ecig and ecig accessories sales to anyone and everyone is bad for them
    The only acceptable safety standard for a non-essential recreational drug with potential to harm bystanders is conclusive proof by independent research that passive exposure to e-cigarette vapour is “as safe as or safer than not being exposed to it at all.” NOT some junk posted by casaa

    And e-cigarette proponents alone bear the entire burden of proving their product safe for use around others by this standard. The public does not owe it to them.

  10. Anonymous

    Hi Ryan,

    Far from wanting to bash people, I want to inform people. There is no smoke from electronic cigarettes. There is water vapor. The ingredients in e-cigs are basically harmless.

    There are indeed some safe forms of tobacco use. Snus, for instance, have been widely used in Sweden where they keep excellent records of the citizens health. Tobacco related illnesses are close to non-existent in Snus users.

    E-cigs are not tobacco use as they contain nicotene,polypropylene, vegetable glycerin and water soluble flavors. All the items are food grade.

    I’m sorry there is an aggressive salesman hassling you. I want you to know that I was a 2 plus pack a day smoker for over 25 years and that e-cigs used as nicotine replacement has worked for me. I hope you will reconsider your stance.

  11. Anonymous

    How is water vapor the same as smoke? Those puffy things in the sky…are they smoke?

    I have to deal with MANY things in public that I find offensive. I don’t like the smell of coffee, but I don’t complain about coffee drinkers (who are ALSO ingesting a legal MIND ALTERING SUBSTANCE). I don’t like the smell of popcorn, but yet I don’t complain when I go to the movies (people can ingest a LEGAL fatty food that is detrimental to their well being IF THEY WANT).

    Going out in public means YOU can’t control everything around you! If you want control…STAY HOME!

  12. Anonymous

    Mr. Bell. Don’t let the facts of a good opinion get in the way.

  13. Disapointed

    I’m sick and tired of all this banning B.S.! Stop trying to impose your ignorant views upon everybody else. E-Cigs provide people the tactile sensation of smoking without actually smoking.
    I also find it hilarious how there’s finally something that provides all the anti-smoke/tobacco people what they have been wanting for years, yet they still yell “Ban!”. This leads me to believe that the “Anti” crowd is only really concerned about controlling peoples lives. I suppose it also doesn’t help that some of these “official” anti-groups palms are greased by the pharmaceutical companies. You know they can’t have E-Cigs cutting into the profits from the products they sell that don’t work. I bet you didn’t know that was going on… did you? Educate yourself and raise up your fellow man instead of trying to ban something that you know absolutely nothing about. You should be more worried about the stuff that comes out of your car’s exhaust.

  14. Ridiculous

    So because it “looks like smoking it should be banned”

    By that rational, drinking from soda cans could look like drinking beer, so we should ban that too?

    Walking looks like running and people that run are criminals right?
    So we should ban walking…

    Breathing cold air can look like smoking, maybe we can ban cold air too, let’s just ban everything, how’s that?

  15. Anonymous

    Next time stop and smell the vapor-there is no second hand smoke(or vapor) Don’t smell your liquid meds or toothpaste same stuff in there. It’s also in your foods Oh boy you will have to just avoid air in general as its much less safe due to all those manufacturing plants & car emissions

  16. BuGlen (ECF)

    Mr. Bell,

    As others have already stated the difference between the smoke of a traditional cigarette and the vapor of an e-cigarette, I will not reiterate that point. I do appreciate your concern regarding the indoor air quality of the mall at which you shop, but I do believe that you are reacting to the visual aspects of the e-cigarette device and may be helping to promote disinformation based on your personal views. Therefore, I urge you to educate yourself on the actual studies conducted by universities, medical facilities, and research groups to date. Once you do that, you may understand how e-cigarettes can greatly benefit current smokers with significant harm reduction, and that the issue of “second hand vapor” has already been disproven.

    There are millions of smokers whose lives may well be saved with this technology, including some of your own friends and family members. Just please think about that for a moment, if you will.

  17. Slim Pickens

    I’m sorry that you feel it is somehow a violation of your personal space to be spoken to or asked to try a product in a shopping mall.

    I for one thank god that I was spoken too as by switching to e-cigarette I was able to minimize the harm I had been doing to my body for over thirty years of nicotine addiction.

    The benefits over smoke are extraordinary. You instantly lower the Carbon dioxide in your system allowing up to 25% better oxygen absorption. You instantly begin freeing yourself of the effects of over a thousand chemicals that are a byproduct of combustion of plant material. And you will find yourself using an e-cig much less often which lowers the overall nicotine in your system.

    Many enjoy these products with 0 nicotine which is a fine way to enjoy those flavors without any harmful effects.

  18. Anonymous

    I don’t think it will be very long before the mall kiosks begin to disappear and it is not necessarily a bad thing. When they started popping up a few years ago, several people I know spent their hard-earned dollars on their overpriced under-performing junk which ended up in the trash while they went back to cigarettes. Even on the e-cigarette forums, most acknowledge that the kiosks sell garbage, but for some, as well as myself, they got me to start doing research on e-cigs online and may have possibly saved my life by ending a terrible habit that spanned half of my 28 years on this planet. There is way more exposure now than there was even a few years ago when the kiosks started selling them in public shopping centers so the purpose they once served is really no longer needed. You can get better performance from gas station disposables for 1/10 the price than you can from the junk they peddle.
    I don’t think it would be a terrible thing to limit public sales of e-cigs to stores and smoke shops that sell tobacco products for the simple reason that they are for adults over the age of 18 and malls and shopping centers are full of minors, even more so around holidays. I do not have kids, but I am hesitant to vape in public places where there are kids around because I don’t want to expose someone else’s kids to a habit that they are trying to protect them from, to me it would be like walking around the mall cursing out loud in front of them.
    It was only 15 years ago in my area that you could walk around the mall smoking cigarettes, not too long after that they limited it to one area, and shortly after that smokers had to go outside. I imagine that soon it is going to end up the same for e-cigs for the reason that there is a lot of misinformation out there and people trying to impose their will upon others based on their personal preferences. While the kiosks may not be the best place to market e-cigs, it is a whole other can of worms to start pushing vapers outdoors with smokers simply because we look like we are smoking, we are also trying to stay away from the smell and harmful effects of cigarette smoke. How about proposing a vaping area instead of an outright indoor ban?
    As for Electricmans comment, nobody on ECF said to attack this blog. Actually they said to comment, but also to remain civil so as to be taken seriously. Somebody also posted a link to show what happens when you type “Electricman E Cig” into google. Is that you, Rob Reiner?

  19. Anonymous

    An E-Cigarette is smoke free with no second hand smoke. It is nothing but harmless water vapor and no different then the vapors from a hot cup of coffee .

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