“Vaping” gets vaporized

Electronic cigarettes are known to be a safe alternative to the negative health effects of cigarette smoking. Yet, the Los Angeles City Council has decided to ban a safer alternative to smoking in public places. The city is slacking off on societal progression by banning E-cigs. They are putting a halt to a groundbreaking technology that can potentially help people that routinely smoke tobacco cigarettes to kick their habit completely. Smoking e-cigs, or “vaping”, as people have began to call it, consists of inhaling flavored nicotine-mixed liquid that heats up into a vapor that when exhaled, leaves virtually no odor. Los Angeles is jumping on the bandwagon along with New York City, Washington D.C. and five other states by enforcing anti-smoking laws. But the act of smoking is not the same as vaping.

Smoking involves using a butane filled lighter to ignite tobacco ladent with chemicals such as tar, lead, and methanol, while vaping simply involves heating up ingredients like oils, flavor extracts, and water. Although these facts are well known and easily accessible, City Council members are inexplicably looking past the obvious advances e-cigs provided for an individual and the city as a whole.

In a six-month study conducted by the medical journal Lancet, analysts compared E-cigs to nicotine patches and discovered that e-cigs are statistically comparable in aiding smokers to quit.

The facts seem to be incorrectly construed by Los Angeles City Council who unanimously banned the use of E-cigs in public areas by using terms such as, “smoking” and “lighting up “ in reference to vaping at a Council meeting on Tuesday. 4th district Councilman, Tom LaBonge expressed his especially educated response at the meeting by saying, “I am just not a fan of e-cigarettes, and I don’t want it becoming the latest rage”.

As of now, the city of Santa Monica is not affected by Los Angeles’s ban on e-cigs however, Santa Monica City officials are slowly pushing to classify e-cigs as tobacco cigarettes, ultimately banning vaping in public parks, restaurants, and work environments.

In a letter addressed to California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Representative for Santa Monica Henry A. Waxman has proposed classifying e-cigs as tobacco cigarettes, expressing his concern for e-cigs becoming a gateway to cigarettes.

While Waxman’s concern is real, his logic is inverted. E-cigs are a crutch to help people quit smoking cigarettes, not an invitation to take up smoking tobacco.

Ironically, the recent ban is now forcing people who smoke e-cigs to vape in the same areas as people who smoke cigarettes. SMC student and e-cig owner Rachel Lucero doesn’t enjoy being put in the same area as smokers. “It’s a hassle,” Lucero says “smoking areas smell bad and I don’t want to have to be thrown into a corner of smokers only to inhale water vapor.”

Personally, I don’t smoke. But I understand the benefits e-cigs can provide to an individual who is addicted to cigarettes. Los Angeles City Council, on the other hand, does not understand the perks behind vaping. They’d rather be quick to judge, than read the facts and listen to the many voices that support the benefits of vaporizing wherever they please.

As of now there is no legal action to ban the use of e-cigs in Santa Monica, but with the recent ban in Los Angeles, the Santa Monica City Council may feel pressured to keep up with it’s neighboring metropolis. With a strong voice, the citizens of Santa Monica can keep the use of e-cigs in public places, knowing it is not harmful to the public, but helpful to a person addicted to cigarettes.

Progress means finding practical solutions, not irrational responses.