Up in smokePublished 5:22pm Saturday, September 14, 2013
To the Editor:
So it seems our esteemed commissioners have decided to throw the baby out with the bath water in an attempt to protect the citizenry from the dangers of tobacco use. Either their due diligence is lacking, or their intelligence is suspect, when they include e-cigarettes in the ban.
On Nov. 1, 2011, after 50 years of smoking cigarettes, I tried “smoking” an e-cigarette. I have not smoked a real cigarette since that date almost two years ago. My smoker’s cough has long since disappeared, my stamina has increased and my doctor is thrilled that I have kicked the habit. I am, however, still addicted to nicotine, although at a much lower level than before.
A little research, which should have been easily done by our commissioners, would have discovered the following truths about e-cigarettes. They are simply a nicotine delivery system — just like the patch. There is no tobacco, there is no fire, there is no second-hand smoke — in fact, there is no first-hand smoke. The smoke-like exhalation from an e-cigarette is nothing more than water vapor, and it is completely odorless.
What is missing are the thousands of toxic chemicals present in real cigarettes — chemicals that I spent most of my life polluting my lungs with. I’ve been quite fortunate (so far) in not having any irreversible effects that so many others have unfortunately experienced. If it weren’t for e-cigarettes, I would still be smoking today and slowly, but surely, killing myself. Some people, stronger willed than I, manage to quit smoking cold turkey. Still others are successful with the nicotine patch, which is another form of nicotine delivery. Still others have used a prescription pill that is not without the possibility of some significant health risks. For me, e-cigarettes is my weapon of choice in my personal battle with cigarette addiction.
Rather than banning e-cigarettes, their use should be encouraged. After all, the nicotine patch is not banned, eyeglasses are not banned, hearing aids are not banned — all of which produce exactly the same amount of second-hand smoke as e-cigarettes — none. Smoking is a terribly difficult addiction to overcome. If our communities are serious about encouraging people to quit, let’s not ban one of the few weapons that work. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.