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Home Forums Get Involved Your Rights are under attack Alachua County, Florida Passes E-Cig Ban

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    As I reported a month ago, Alachua County, Florida commissioners were considering an e-cig ban and most said that they needed to see research before enacting an all-out ban on the devices in public areas. Tuesday – barely a month later – they voted to ban the devices in all non-smoking areas, ban the sale to minors and hide them behind counters at convenience stores.

    No research at all was apparently done by the commissioners. Instead, they allowed associate director of the University of Florida Area Health Education Centers Program, Kathy Nichols, an anti-ecig spokesperson to have the floor for an hour, where she manipulated the truth in support of the ban.

    That was all commissioner Mike Byerly needed to hear. Previously on the fence about banning e-cigs in public places, he said that her testimony convinced him that they could be poisonous to innocent bystanders.

    Those who opposed the ordinance were given five minutes to speak.

    It should be noted that Ms. Nichols has never done any research on e-cigarettes at all. Instead, she spouted the same old “we don’t know what is in them” lie along with the whole “they could be a gateway device to regular cigarettes” theory. She cited the faulty CDC study that she says showed that teen use of e-cigarettes has doubled in the past year. In fact, although the numbers support the notion that twice as many teens tried an e-cigarette, she conveniently left off the other part of the study that stated that regular daily use amongst teens has not risen. In fact, the study showed that only one respondent who tried an e-cigarette wasn’t already a cigarette smoker!

    When those opposed to the ban tried to bring up the Drexel report, which showed that there are no dangerous emissions from e-cigarettes to innocent bystanders, an attorney for the state objected, stating that it was not a peer reviewed study and therefore could not be used as valid testimony. He conveniently left out the fact that the Drexel report was merely a compilation of studies, many of which HAVE been peer reviewed.

    What happened in Alachua County is representative of what is happening in local governments all over the country right now. Anti e-cig zealots are the only ones who are allowed to make a formal presentation; therefore, all government officials ever hear is a one sided debate.

    Josh Abel spoke briefly at the meeting as a concerned citizen. After hearing the disappointing (but not at all surprising) news that the ban was passed, Josh sent the following Email to commissioner Byerly and the rest of the county commissioners:

    Commissioner Byerly,

    I see you as a man of science, and though obviously cautious, are critical and analytical. I am begging you to please take a few minutes to review the following. 5 minutes of nervous presentation was hardly enough for calm, organized thought and presentation. I implore you to read this and use the critical nature you displayed at the hearing. This matter is extremely important to myself and though you would not think so, based on the number of “vapers” that attended the hearing, it is important to the vaping community. The vaping community and myself are being charged with “being a threat to public health”. That is what the ordinance you just passed represents. We are innocent until proven guilty, and the burden of proof lies with the state. I hope that in reading this you will realize what is actually going on here and that you are currently unaware.

    Please visit the following link after reading this email – Please pay attention to the CDC article, the health department used in their presentation. The part that indicted the number middle/high school student that used electronic cigarettes had doubled from 2011 to 2012. “Three descriptors are examined when surveying about tobacco or drug use— A) Ever use, B) Past 30 days use, and C) daily use”, the CDC neglects to exclude the first two and represents their claim of “doubled” with the data from A and B, omitting the very low number representing the most important “daily use” yeah kids experiment and then they move on. Your decision was also based on the fact that state and federal government agencies are slow to make decisions. They don’t need to make a decision all they have to do is trickle down anecdotal evidence and fail to do any comprehensive investigation that might produce results that undermine their agenda, thus generating uncertainty, then distribute what little they have, as fact, to the local health departments to generate fear in local governments and populations. Then you do exactly what you did. These are probably the best examples of how you are being lied to and manipulated. As a politician you surely aware that half truths are lies.

    Additionally, the new ordinance is poorly defined, despite the 11th hour rewording. A proper definition includes all of what want and nothing else. The ecig ban effectively banned the use of theatrical fog machines at school plays and haunted houses, vaporizers that are used in retail boutiques for air freshener and ambiance, vicks vaporizers, humidifiers and even the new biomass plant, if you really wanted. What is worse, the county attorney will then solicit the municipalities to opt in, where does it stop.

    The health department (kathy nickols) sited many examples of “harm” caused by personal vaporizers, But those example were statistical outliers, that any data pool is going to have. For example, ecig burns mans face, terrible as that may be, fire authorities determined that he had modified the device. When cell phones first came out and batteries were burning people through their pockets, was their public use banned? Next, women with pneumonia “caused by” ecigs, some people have allergies to PG, red dye #5, peanuts, Perfume/Cologne, you should ban people from wearing too much. We know what is in the perfume, the same aroma chemicals that are in e-liquid. They are purchased from the same 3 sources – Despite the fact that PG is recognized by the EPA as a legitimate inhabitable disinfectant the health department says “we’re not sure it is safe, so you should be concerned” Link to EPA –, clearly stating that PG is safe to inhale. And here is a list air sanitizers that contain PG and perfume, as the ACTIVE ingredients. Vegetable glycerin, has no classification for toxicity according to msds – or this one, links compiled from regulatory agencies

    Mr Byerly, with your science background you were very critical of of the points the health department tried to make and called Ms Nickols out on several occasions. I applaud you for not allowing yourself to be spoon fed. The information is out there, from “reliable” sources and if anyone takes the time to piece it together the answer becomes apparent. EPA, CDC (data, not reports with summarized interpretations), ASCH, NIH – All are federally run and or receive some federal funding. So if the Drexel report is bad science, or to be dismissed due to its current lack of peer review, then these agencies have similar data, just not compiled. I am wondering, when the Drexel report IS peer reviewed and published, will it still be dismissed? Is it likely that the ordinance will be rescinded Or will PhD Igor Burstyn be conveniently discredited in some other fashion, rendering the report useless? Just because you can legally do it doesn’t make it right.

    Mr Hutchinson asserts that extremely harmful, illegal drugs can be used in vaporizers, While it is 100% true that you can vaporize “other” things, in-fact almost anything, but you cannot do it without leaving some sign. As I am sure you have no experience with illicit drugs let me guide you. Cannabis can be vaporized, but there is no water soluble version available. And while heroine and Cocaine is water soluble and can be easily vaporized, no junky in their right mind is going to engage in this behavior with the paranoia associated with these drugs. They will use it in a secluded location so to better enjoy their high. But there is something critically important that Mr Hutchinson failed to mention, there is a distinctly pungent, offensive, aromatic effect produced when all of these drugs are vaporized. So horrible is the smell that no one within smelling distance would fail to immediately notice, and respond to. So the situation suggested by Mr Hutchinson about sitting at a restaurant minding your own business with your children and having an invisible, orderless cloud engulf you, causing you harm, without your knowledge, is a completely falsehood. He either has made poor observations during his trip to Amsterdam or he deliberately omitted this part. I hope it is the first sir.

    This ordinance is not enforceable. Unlike cigarette smoke, there is no distinctly offensive smell, so vaping in the bathroom, negates this ordinance 100%. Vaping in the movie theater, blow down and no one is the wiser, they won’t smell it. Same goes for a restaurant. And if I am not mistaken due to Florida’s preemption county parks would also be excluded. So what has been accomplished? “The commissioner have taken action”… to protect the community. And taken the lead perpetuating this witch hunt at the municipal level, which the cities will most likely follow. I have to say, It is hard to not feel persecuted.

    I do not know whether or not commissioner share emails and information, I observed massive differences in levels of knowledge on this issue between the different commissioner, so I will be sending this to all the commissioners.

    I have written and re-written this email adding more and more data, links and observation. It has taken about 2 hours to locate relevant reports and data and compile them is this format, further demonstrating that all the valid information you needed to make the decision regarding a prohibition was available, yet is seems that only the selective information provided to you by the health department was really considered. Due diligence?

    Joseph Abel.

    Unfortunately, I’m quite sure that Josh wasted a whole lot of his time composing this Email and researching links. The ship has sailed. Once passed, ordinances like this are virtually impossible to get reversed.

    E-Cig Express Quote of the Day: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – C.S. Lewis

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