Capitol Alert

California Rep. Duncan Hunter blows smoke at congressional hearing

Video: California congressman vapes in hearing to make his point

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, defended use of vaporizers in a transportation hearing on February 11, 2016.
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Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, defended use of vaporizers in a transportation hearing on February 11, 2016.

Republican Duncan Hunter, California’s vaping congressman, took a long drag from his device at a hearing Thursday and exhaled a big white cloud.

“This is a vaporizer. There’s no combustion, no carcinogens,” Hunter, R-Alpine, said at the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where lawmakers were considering a variety of policies ahead of the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act.

Hunter has been strong supporter of e-cigarettes, writing last year that he considers them a lifesaving replacement to smoking cigarette or chewing tobacco. He opposes any banning of the products on airplanes.

“This has helped thousands of people quit smoking,” he said at the Thursday hearing. “It’s helped me quit smoking.”

Rep. Candice Miller, R-Michigan, appeared to be swatting at Hunter’s water vapor.

The tussle over vaping is taking place across the country. Critics of the nicotine-delivery systems have sought to restrict their use in places where cigarette and other smoking is banned. Most airlines have already obliged, but the federal government has been working on its own set of tighter controls.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

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