Group protests E-cigarette ban

Posted at 12:39 AM, Mar 25, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-25 02:39:05-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A small but vocal group of Utahans say they have been unfairly targeted by lawmakers.  They smoke electronic cigarettes...a smoke-free smoking alternative and now, thanks to House Bill 245 and a signature from the governor, E-cigs will soon be banned in public places, just like regular cigarettes.

E-cigarettes transfer flavors and nicotine into the lungs through water vapor rather than smoke. Rep. Bradley, R-Hurricane, sponsored the ban bill. He says they may be safer, but they may not be safe.

“As it stands right now, if someone wanted to come to one of our committee meetings and start using an E-cigarette we really wouldn’t have anything to say because E-cigarettes don't come under the definition of smoking in our Utah Clean Indoor Air Act,” said Bradley during this year’s legislative session.

The Food and Drug Administration did a preliminary study of E-cigs and found a cartridge containing di-ethylene glycol, considered toxic to humans. They also found they couldn't rely on the amount of nicotine delivered by any given brand.  Some had levels twice what the FDA recommends for smoking cessation products.

On the floor of the state House, Rep. Brian Doughty, D-Salt Lake City, tried to amend the bill. He wanted to OK E-cigs and hookahs in certain businesses.

“Banning the use of hookahs and E-cigs in establishments where adults have chosen to give their business is still the heavy hand of the government affecting small businesses in Utah,” Doughty said.