Kentucky Smoking Ban Debate Continues
The debate over a public smoking ban currently moving through the various parts of the Kentucky government has begun to focus heavily on whether it should include electronic cigarettes. CASAA has issued a call to action. Republican representative Stan Lee filed an amendment to exempt electronic cigarettes from the proposed law.
An editorial in Lexington’s Herald-Leader speaks on the issue with such obvious bias and bile that one wonders how much of it was based on nothing more than an interview with on-going Kentucky-based e-cig adversary Ellen Hahn (who’s written for the paper before). All of it, we’d wager, unless she simply wrote the whole thing herself, that is.
The piece suggests that Representative Lee only filed the amendment to appease Big Tobacco. But we know something they don’t, nor did they bother to investigate. An Ecig Advanced employee was in direct contact with Lee, asking him to make the proposal (along with several other private citizens). The facts slide show we posted here grew from a document sent to Lee to encourage the change.
More could be said on this, but national-level e-cig advocate Bill Godshall already sent a rebuttal to the Herald-Leader. We encourage more to do the same. Check out Godshall’s remarks below.
“As a public health activist who has campaigned to ban smoking in workplaces for the past 25 years, I’m pleased that Herald-Leader editors have endorsed smokefree workplace legislation in Kentucky.
But your recent editorial was dead wrong in opposing Rep. Stan Lee’s critically important amendment to remove HB 190’s unwarranted and counterproductive ban on electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use.
Unlike combustible cigarettes, e-cigarettes emit no hazardous tobacco smoke and pose no risks to nonusers. As such, there is no public health rationale to ban e-cigarette use in workplaces or public places.
E-cigarette use has never complicated enforcement of smokefree workplace laws, which your editorial falsely asserted, as even morons can tell the difference between a burning cigarette and a smokefree e-cigarette.
In sharp contrast to other claims in your editorial, e-cigarettes pose no known health risks to users, but instead provide health benefits to smokers every time they use an e-cigarette instead of smoking.
Existing evidence indicates that e-cigarettes are >99 less hazardous than cigarettes, and have already helped millions of smokers quit and/or sharply reduce cigarette consumption.
Finally, Representative Lee’s amendment to remove e-cigarettes from HB 190 should be supported because the bill now falsely defines “smoking” as using a smokefree e-cigarette. Radically changing the definition of a word in a stealth attempt to ban the use of a lifesaving product is unethical and deceitful.”
Bill Godshall is executive director of Smokefree Pennsylvania.
Click here for our audio interview with Godshall