In a logic-defying move, the Duluth City Council yesterday voted 6 to 3 to ban e-cigarette use in places where tobacco smoking is also banned. Not only is this another example of overregulation, but it discourages the use of a tobacco-free product that can reduce risk of tobacco-related death or illness by 98 percent or more, according to Dr. Joel Nitzkin of the R Street Institute.
In his testimony to the Duluth City Council, Dr. Nitzkin also pointed out the obvious: e-cigarettes produce a vapor, not smoke, that is almost completely water and contains no carbon monoxide. As such, this vapor poses no health risk to non-users in both indoor and outdoor spaces. Unfortunately, for Duluth residents who enjoy a safe smoking alternative, the nanny-state faction of the City Council ignored this research and passed the ban anyway.
Like the penny-per-ounce soda tax hikes that appeared on some local California ballots last November, as well as the never-ending state and local tobacco tax increase proposals, e-cigarette bans are simply the latest Bloomberg-style ploy to control individual behavior. Consumers should brace themselves for more proposals like the Duluth ban in the near future. Next time, lawmakers will hopefully relax, take a deep breath, and understand the facts before irrationally banning e-cigarette water vapor.