|Jump to full article: Seven Days (Burlington, VT), 2012-02-16|
Author: Blurt: The Seven Days Staff Blog:
Ex-smokers and others trying to quit or reduce their cancer-stick consumption are burning mad over a new bill in the Vermont Legislature. H.747, introduced by Rep. Bill Frank (D-Underhill), would classify electronic cigarettes as "tobacco substitutes" and ban their mail-order sale to and from Vermont. . . .
But for lifelong smokers such as Josh Slocum of Winooski, the best part about e-cigarettes is that they literally saved his life.
Slocum credits e-cigarettes with helping him break his 22-year smoking habit which, as his cardiologist has told him, was largely to blame for the heart attack he suffered in December 2010 at age 36.
As Slocum writes in a February 10 letter to members of the House Committee on Human Services, "Because I switched to e-cigarettes, I've been off tobacco for more than a year. I want to stay that way. Since quitting cigarettes, my lung function has returned, my sense of taste is back, I can work out and my blood pressure is phenomenal." . . .
As Dr. Siegel writes this week on his blog, The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary:
"It is all well and good to say: 'We don't know if electronic cigarettes are safe. We should ban them until we know they are safe.' But that's an uninformed opinion. There is plenty of scientific evidence out there already about the safety of the product. It has been studied extensively in the laboratory and its chemical components have been characterized. In fact, we know far more about the chemical components of electronic cigarettes than we do about the components of Marlboros. Moreover, the question is not whether electronic cigarettes are 'safe.' The question is whether they are substantially safer than tobacco cigarettes.
. . .
"If these groups cannot name a potential specific hazard, then it seems imprudent to ban the product, take it off the market, or even to ban its use in public, as this is going to result in forcing large numbers of vapers to go back to cigarette smoking."
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