Los Angeles City Council Votes to Treat Much-Safer E-Cigarettes Just Like Dangerous Tobacco Cigarettes
Vote Closer than Expected; Public Health Advocates Hope Elected Officials are Becoming Aware of Relative Public Health Benefits of Tobacco-Free E-Cigarette "Vaping" Alternative
Los Angeles, CA / Washington, D.C. - In a closer vote than expected, the Los Angeles City Council today voted not to carve out an exception for bars in that city's new ban on public vaping (the use of e-cigarettes, which emit smokeless vapor).
National Center for Public Policy Research Risk Analysis Director Jeff Stier testified at the hearing, encouraging the council members not to vote to ban all public vaping in Los Angeles, including in bars, where children are banned.
"The 'precautionary principle' should be applied to regulations... regulations should be narrowly-tailored to achieve a public health goal, and they shouldn't do more harm than good... The science is very well developed on the dangers of smoking [tobacco cigarettes]," said Stier, who says e-cigarettes have helped many nicotine-addicted adults quit smoking tobacco cigarettes.
"Let me tell you one very serious consequence of a regulation like this without having an exemption for bars," said Stier, who went on to explain to the city council that smokers currently must leave bars to smoke outside. And if vapers, that is, e-cigarette users who are using e-cigarettes to quit smoking, are forced by regulations to go outside with the tobacco smokers to appease their nicotine habit, they will be more tempted to resume smoking tobacco.
As a public health policy, said Stier, "That's nonsense! If you put them outside, they're going to go back to smoking."
The Los Angeles City Council ultimately voted 8-6 to treat vaping just like smoking, and not to allow an exception for bars, but the vote was closer than anticipated.
"This ban will be directly responsible for some former smokers going back to smoking - all in the name of 'public health,'" said Stier.
"E-cigarettes do not re-normalize smoking," Stier concluded. "They normalize not smoking."
A video of Stier's testimony in Los Angeles is available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIGnT6LOX4o.
Stier has testified before states and localities in recent months about the relative safety of e-cigarettes compared to tobacco cigarettes. He says, "The vast majority of those who purchase e-cigarettes are adult smokers trying to quit. So discouraging the use of e-cigarettes actually incentivizes smokers to continue smoking."
Stier is hopeful that as more elected officials realize the public health benefits of allowing the use of e-cigarettes, the more they will oppose policies, including e-cigarette bans and high excise taxes on e-cigarettes, that discourage people from using them to quit smoking tobacco.
New York City-based Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C., and heads its Risk Analysis Division. Stier is a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. Stier's National Center op-eds have been published in top outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, Newsday, Forbes, the Washington Examiner and National Review Online. He also frequently discusses risk issues on Twitter at @JeffaStier.
Stier has testified at FDA scientific meetings, met with members of Congress and their staff about science policy, met with OMB/OIRA officials, and submitted testimony to state government legislative hearings. Most recently, he testified before the science committee of the New York City Council about that city's ban on public use of e-cigarettes and submitted testimony to the Oklahoma legislature on the same matter.
Stier has testified about e-cigarette regulation before the New York, Los Angeles and San Diego City Councils, submitted testimony to the Oklahoma and Rhode Island legislatures and met with federal officials at the Office of Management and Budget and the Food and Drug Administration on the issue.
Stier previously worked in both the office of the mayor and in the corporation counsel's office during the Giuliani administration in New York City. His responsibilities included planning environmental agency programs, legal analysis of proposed legislation, and health policy. Mr. Stier also is chairman of the board of the Jewish International Connection, NY. While earning his law degree at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, he served two terms as editor-in-chief of the Cardozo Law Forum.
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.
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