Alabama Senate Health Committee Members
Sponsors of SB197 and 198,
As a registered Alabama voter, I am writing to urge you to amend SB 197 and 198 , section (17) SMOKE or SMOKING, to replace the last sentence of the definition with this text, "The term does not include the use of an e-cigarette or any other type of smoke-free product."
I began using an electronic cigarette/personal vaporizer (PV) in October 2009. I did not begin using the PV to circumvent indoor smoking bans, but as a method for allowing myself to continue to utilize nicotine without the harm associated with smoking combustible cigarettes. After 30+ years of smoking, I have now been smoke free since December 2009, more than 26 months. I have experience significant health benefits from making this switch. My blood pressure (systolic and diastolic) has decreased 10 points, my hemoglobin has decreased to the middle of the normal range, and I no longer cough or get easily winded.
The references used for the model legislation that these bills are based upon are out of date. In fact, all evidence to date suggests that PVs are orders of magnitude safer than combustible cigarettes, that the low health risks associated with electronic cigarettes are comparable to other smokeless nicotine products, and experts have reported that there should be no significant risk to bystanders. The harm associated with smoking is due to the smoke from combustion. There is no firsthand or second hand smoke from PVs because there is no combustion. This is supported by research done by Dr. Siegel of Boston University, Dr. Eissenberg of Virginia Commonwealth and Dr. Laugesen of Health New Zealand and by the fact that the FDA testing, in spite of its press statement, failed to find harmful levels of carcinogens or toxic levels of any chemical in the vapor.
These products are arguably no more dangerous than a fog machines used concerts and at children’s parties, the scent of the vapor arising from the steaming hot coffee in a local coffee shop
, and much less noxious than perfume or aftershave used in an enclosed space. Yet, rightly, none of these are considered to e a threat to public health.
Including PVs in indoor smoking bans serves no public health protection purpose. In fact, raising barriers to use of an arguably safer alternative to smoking has the potential to harm public health.
I have included links to some current research below and will follow up with additional information by mail. I strongly urge you to look at the references and data and to amend the bill so that it can serve its stated purpose of protecting the public health
Thank you for your time and consideration