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Home Forums Get Involved Your Rights are under attack Commissioner Puffs E-Cig Before He Plans to Ban Them

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    Alachua County, FL County Commissioner, Robert Hutchinson, posted a video a couple of days ago in which he tried an electronic cigarette for the first time. The commissioner is on record as a supporter of an ordinance that would ban sales of e-cigarettes to minors, require that they be kept behind counters, out of sight, and prohibit their use anywhere smoking is banned.

    According to the Gainesville Sun, commissioner Hutchinson said that if he is going support the ordinance, he thought he should try one first in order to see what they are really all about.

    The Gainesville Sun article adds that the commissioner said that he talked to several convenience store clerks who said that they already have a policy in place where they will not sell them to minors.

    Hutchinson called the technology, “interesting,” adding that one of the positives of an ecig is that it doesn’t emit any vapor unless it is being used, unlike tobacco cigarettes that continue to spew smoke into the air when they are being held or sitting in an ashtray.

    He sounds like a pretty reasonable guy, right?

    Well, you’ll need to watch the video, yourself, and make that call. My initial impression was that he created the video as a stunt and seems to be smirking throughout it. Then, I read the comments that appear below the video and was convinced that he has every intention of supporting the ban.

    Commissioner Hutchinson is the very first person to comment on his own video, stating, “I’m wearing a turtleneck to appear sophisticated.”

    Does that sound like someone who is taking this matter seriously?

    A few comments later, the commissioner says “The most salient question in regulating this practice is should an individual be able to infuse the air they share in common with the drugs and/or flavors of their choice? It’s clear that second-hand vapor will be breathed by others in confined spaces.”

    A few comments from people say the same regulation should be applied to people who douse themselves with perfume or cologne, which the commissioner ignores.

    He then adds this juvenile comment, I guess in order to appear cool – “My e-cig vapor contained only vegetable glycol and mango flavoring — no nicotine. I’m such a lightweight that it made me woozy and I started talking Jamaican, mon.”

    Clearly someone who has no clue what he is talking about; there is no such thing as vegetable glycol!

    It is commissioner Hutchinson’s final comment that really lets you know where he stands:

    I am a vaper vaping, and the “smoke” is vapor. By itself, the exudate would probably have no flavor or odor, but I’m doubtful that an unflavored potion exists. One person writing to the BoCC about the issue says that if we outlaw vaping in public places, we should include the smoke machines used in discos. I’ve read a fair amount about small particulates (PM 2.5) and the danger they pose to the lungs and cardiovascular system, and I could definitely feel an impact, even hours later, from the few puffs I did inhale. Smoking is a filthy, disgusting habit of the ignoranti, and I see little distinction between smoking and vaping.

    Yeah, the dude shows his hand by calling smokers ignorant and clearly doesn’t care whether there is any danger to the public from e-cigarettes or not. He thinks it is the same as smoking and is a disgusting habit that should be banned, regardless of whether it is harmful or not.

    Another Gainesville Sun article is cited by the commissioner within the comments that outlines the discussion that occurred during a county legislative session last week. Scroll to the bottom of page three and continue through to page four and you will see that some commissioners have a much more practical view of e-cigarettes.

    Although all commissioners were in support of banning the sale of e-cigarettes to minors – something almost the entire e-cigarette community supports – there was definitely dissension when it came to banning them in public places.

    Commissioner Susan Baird said that she was unsure if e-cigarettes emit a smell similar to cigarettes and if they don’t, she may not be in favor of a ban on their use in non-smoking areas.

    Hutchinson responds, saying that they emit the odor of whatever flavor someone is vaping but that he did not know the concentration of nicotine emitted nor how it compares to a tobacco cigarette in that regard.

    Here, Commissioner Hutchinson really shows his ignorance. He does not seem to realize that nicotine, even if it did exist in significant amounts in exhaled vapor (it doesn’t), is not cancer causing.

    Commissioner Mike Byerly adds a voice of reason to the debate, saying that even if something is addictive, it doesn’t mean it should be banned. Using that logic, sugar should be banned, he says.

    You can also add coffee and alcohol to that list, Mr. Byerly!

    Byerly also stated that he didn’t know if there were any studies about whether the emissions from e-cigarettes were harmful to bystanders (here’s one, Commissioner Byerly).

    “If these products actually don’t harm anyone else and don’t create an offense to anyone else, then I’m a little concerned about prohibiting their use by adults in a public place,” Byerly adds.

    Yet another commissioner chimes in, showing that nobody addressing this subject has done any research at all about it. Commissioner Dave Wagner states, “there don’t seem to be any definitive studies addressing the health impacts of e-cigarette vapor.”

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