E-Cigs Take Another Blow

It was only a matter of time. CBS’s San Francisco affiliate is reporting that Contra Costa County is taking steps to amend a county ordinance to include e-cigarettes in their Secondhand Smoke Protections provisions. :

Supervisors voted to amend the county’s Secondhand Smoke Protections Ordinance. As a result, the battery-operated devices, which emit nicotine vapors, will no longer be permitted in places where smoking is prohibited within the county.

No city supervisor spoke out against the amendment. The city of Concord has already banned e-cigarettes in public places. Contra Costa board chair supervisor Federal Glover reasoned, “There is a perception that if we were not to do anything about this, that it’s okay to smoke.” Is it really, though? 

Consider that e-cigarettes are not currently taxed and regulated by state and federal governments, while tobacco products are. In fact, tobacco’s biggest cigarette makers, Phillip Morris and Lorillard, jumped on to the e-cigarette bandwagon in 2012. The tobacco companies could now advertise on TV a smokeless product that was not regulated by the federal government.

One can only imagine the reaction of tax and spend liberals when Lorillard’s TV ad for their e-cigarette Blu first aired during the 2013 Super Bowl. Signed by President Richard Nixon, legislation banned TV and radio ads for tobacco products in 1970. In 2009, the then Democratic House passed a tax hike on cigarettes, which flew threw the Democratic Senate and landed on President Obama’s desk for a signature. The tax expanded the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP). 

In August 2012, Gallup reported that one in five adults smoke in the United States. “The prevalence of smoking in the U.S. is currently tied for the all-time low in Gallup trends dating from 1944, after a long, slow decline in smoking rates since the 1970s,” Gallup concluded. At the same time, the popularity of unregulated e-cigarettes are on the rise. So is it any surprise a Utah state lawmaker proposed a bill recently to tax and regulate electronic cigarettes the same way as tobacco cigarettes? St. Paul, Minnesota’s city council is currently debating whether or not to regulate the sale of e-cigarettes as well. 

Airplanes and Amtrak do not allow passengers to smoke e-cigarettes and private sector work places are grappling with the issue as well. According to Michael T. Miller, an attorney at Briggs & Morgan, some offices are already banning the use of e-cigs by their employees.

In the meantime, as long as state and federal governments are not getting a piece of the e-cig pie, expect to see more attacks on the electronic cigarette industry in the form of additional bans, bias studies, and hit pieces from big government media.

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