Letter: Thanks Council for restricting e-cigs

Published 8:58 am Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I’d like to thank the Austin City Council for voting to protect our workers, families and public from the potential risk of using electronic cigarettes indoors.

Very little is known about the aerosol emitted from these new and unknown products. What few studies have been done have found heavy metals and cancer causing chemicals. In fact, recent data in the New England Journal of Medicine found the amount of formaldehyde—a known carcinogen—inhaled through e-cigarettes could be significantly higher than that of traditional cigarettes.

There are hundreds of different e-cigarettes on the market right now with no regulation. It’s impossible to know what manufacturers are putting in them.

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Until we know much more about these products it just makes sense to err on the side of caution and keep them out of our public places. Why risk putting someone’s health at risk for something that can easily be taken outdoors?

What’s more, the broad use of e-cigarettes threatens to erode the progress we’ve made against youth smoking and tobacco use. Renormalizing smoking as “cool” or somehow less dangerous is a serious problem. Already the popularity of e-cigs is skyrocketing. A report from the University of Michigan found, for the first time, that e-cigarette use among teens is greater than that of traditional cigarettes.

Considering all the risks, the Austin City Council clearly acted in the public’s best interest and did the right thing. I thank them for their conscientious actions.

Linda J. Baier