Dai Sugano / Bay Area News Group

The Conversation

Published: Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014 - 12:00 am

Last Sunday’s Conversation touched on the campaign to curb smoking tobacco and the growing use of e-cigarettes, which let the user inhale vaporized nicotine while not ingesting the carcinogens in leaf tobacco. We asked the question: Should e-cigarettes be regulated like tobacco products, with bans on vaping in indoor public spaces, including restaurants and bars?

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Why legislate against vapor?

Re “E-cigarettes: A new vice ensnares adolescents” (Forum, Jan. 19): I am a former resident of 40-plus years in east Sacramento. I used to smoke a pack and a half of cigarettes a day. Now, sometimes I use my e-cigarette or my tobacco pipe.

Only the madness of liberalism can stoke panic and hatred for anything resembling tobacco use and make laws against smoking in public. However, liberals seem to be fine with potheads, who blow marijuana smoke in my face and invade my personal space.

The e-cigarette is just vapor. People should stop trying to regulate the behavior of others. Liberals think their job is to make laws against everything because they know better than us.

– Pete Poulos, Sammamish, Wash.

E-cigs break smoking habit

The article about e-cigarettes contains selective numbers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that cigarette smoking among middle-school students declined to 3.5 percent in 2012, and to 14 percent among high school students.

The same source reported that recent e-cigarette use was only 1.1 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively. The figures cited in the story were for youths who had never used e-cigarettes, so the numbers include any experimentation.

Most importantly, e-cigarettes are not necessarily a “nicotine cessation product.” Beginning March 2009, e-cigarettes allowed me to escape from 45 years as a slave to smoking.

Like many former smokers, I still use nicotine for its beneficial effects on mood and cognition. Smoking cessation has eliminated my morning cough and allows me to enjoy a good laugh without going into a coughing jag. I now serve as president of the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association.

– Elaine Keller, Springfield, Va.

Teens see e-cigarettes as safe

Shawn Hubler wrote an excellent article on e-cigarettes. As a health teacher at the secondary level, I am well aware of what teenagers are thinking. The bad news is that the e-cigarette makers have done an excellent job of marketing their product to teenagers, and teens think that they are safe.

The reality of e-cigarettes is that they contain nicotine, and, regardless of the delivery system, nicotine has nothing but negative consequences on the body. With that said, e-cigarettes should be regulated like any other tobacco product. The bad news is that it is a $1.7 billion industry, and the lobbyists for the tobacco industry will do everything in their power to keep that regulation at bay.

– Raymond J. Cavanagh, EL Dorado Hills

Vapor cigarettes pose less danger

Shawn Hubler writes that e-cigarettes will ensnare adolescents, but I submit that the same adolescents will take up regular cigarettes if e-cigarettes are not available.

An estimated 400,000 Americans die each year because of the carcinogens in cigarettes. E-cigarettes provide nicotine without these deadly products of combustion of organic materials. Is this not better than the use of regular tobacco-containing cigarettes?

Let’s get people onto a nicotine-delivery system that will not result in wholesale killings of the addicted.

– R.L. Fredrickson, Roseville

Vapor pens seem cool to teens

E-cigarettes and vapor pens have already become “the next cool thing,” not just for hipsters and bar-goers but for high school kids who you wouldn’t expect to smoke.

I am a senior at McClatchy High School, a member of the Humanities and International Studies Program and enrolled in only Advanced Placement classes. Many of my friends from McClatchy and other high schools vape. Sometimes, they even do it in class when teachers aren’t looking.

While the so-called smoke from these devices isn’t intrusive, I think e-cigarettes and vapor pens should be treated like tobacco. It’s too easy for kids under 18 to obtain vapor pens, and the health risks often go unknown.

Ads for e-cigarettes and vapes should also be banned, as they project the idea that there are no health risks and that smoking e-cigarettes is the cool thing to do.

– Koen Browning, Sacramento

E-cigarettes help smokers quit

Shawn Hubler writes, “But we’ve come too far to relax while an activity that looks suspiciously like smoking offers the real thing a shot at a comeback.” This sentence upsets me, as the author of this article obviously isn’t focusing on the main demographic for most electronic cigarettes.

The point of e-cigarettes isn’t to glorify smoking. It’s to help previously addicted smokers quit a deadly habit. While it may not be as safe as completely abstaining from nicotine – which is about as dangerous as caffeine when vaporized – it is a much healthier solution to the issue at hand, which is addiction to traditional cigarettes.

In regards to the statement about more middle schoolers vaping, isn’t it better that they are exposed to something much less harmful than traditional cigarettes?

– Maxwell Bauer, Sacramento


FROM FACEBOOK

Kari Marie – No. I don’t think kids should have them, but I’ve been around adults smoking them and haven’t been bothered, and I have asthma and allergies that are pretty easily triggered by smoke and perfume. Not that my experience is representative of everyone, but I don’t think there are the risks of secondhand smoke like regular cigarettes.

As far as the article’s discussion of the health effects, well, we’re still allowed to choose what we want to kill us, be it tobacco products or alcohol or fast food. …

Christina Borgman – Just the other day a parent waiting for the dismissal bell at an elementary school was vaping. Interesting quandary because there was no smoke but all school campuses are tobacco-free zones.

Clarence Corn – They’re better than cigarettes and because there’s no smoke being produced I don’t feel they’re as intrusive. ... How about a little give and take here? Do we really want to keep going the way of the Nanny Law state?

Andrea Kenney – I can only share my own experience; but e-cigs have helped me stop smoking. I no longer, cough, stink, feel sick or congested. They’ve been nothing less than transformative. Should they be regulated – maybe. They should definitely be kept out of the hands of minors. But I don’t think they should be banned. I’m using it as a cessation tool, and it’s proven to be very effective so far. I’m down to the lowest nicotine dosage and am looking forward to the future!

David A. Gonzales – The article in The Bee makes it abundantly clear. Scientists don’t know if e-cigs are dangerous, but too many people look like they’re enjoying it. And we certainly can’t have that, so let’s bring in the laws. Geeze, why doesn’t The Bee just push for totalitarianism?



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