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Home Forums Get Involved Your Rights are under attack Bill would ban indoor use of electronic cigarettes in Illinois

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    Original source here: http://www.sj-r.com/article/20150216/NEWS/150219582

    By Seth A. Richardson
    State Capitol Bureau

    Posted Feb. 16, 2015 at 10:00 PM

    Fans of electronic cigarettes could soon find themselves outside with tobacco smokers if one state lawmaker’s bill becomes law.

    Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Addison, introduced House Bill 2404 last week. The bill would ban the use of electronic cigarettes, known as vaping, indoors.

    Willis said she filed the legislation because she did not want Illinois to make the same mistake it did with secondhand smoke.

    “It took us a long time to prove (the dangers of) secondhand smoke, and I suspect we’ll have the same type of thing with secondhand vaping,” she said. “There are odors and elements that still come out from that.”

    The bill would amend the Smoke Free Illinois Act of 2007 and ban the use of electronic cigarettes indoors in public places. Exemptions are made for theatrical productions and vape shops.

    Willis said she had not talked to any other legislators or interest groups, but Kathy Drea, vice president of advocacy for the American Lung Association in Illinois, said the ALA would support the bill.

    “A major concern is that we don’t know what the long-term health effects are,” she said.

    Too few studies

    Electronic cigarettes work by heating oil with nicotine to the point where it becomes vapor. The user inhales, similar to a tobacco cigarette, and the lungs soak in the nicotine. E-cig companies market the products as smoking-cessation devices, similar to nicotine gum or patches, or as an alternative to tobacco, which contains a variety of carcinogens. When the user exhales, a cloud of vapor that looks like smoke is released.

    The studies on secondhand vapor have been conflicting. Some say there are harmful chemicals like formaldehyde in the vapor clouds, while others find only a trace amount of nicotine, a nonthreatening substance in low doses.

    The World Health Organization in October found that most testing of electronic cigarettes was not done by independent scientists, but recommended that states ban vaping until further studies could be completed.

    Dr. Sunny Jha, a resident physician at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center who worked for the World Health Organization Anti-tobacco Unit when he was an intern, said scientific studies have not been performed on secondhand vaping on a widespread basis.

    He said it’s hard to say whether there should be an indoor ban since electronic cigarettes can be used for smoking cessation.

    Drea also said she thought vaping could make smoking look trendy again. Jha said this was a major concern in the fight against tobacco.

    “It can glamorize the idea of smoking again, which is what we’re trying to avoid,” he said.

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