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January 15, 2014

E-cigs banned on state property

EDMOND — State Rep. Randy Grau does not agree with Gov. Mary Fallin’s recent executive order to ban e-cigarettes on all state-owned property, he said.

“If somebody wants to vap in their car while it’s parked on state property, you know I don’t have a problem with that,” Grau said. “I think we have to find that right balance between government oversight and regulation and the freedom of people to be able to use vap products if they want to. They’re adults.”

Fallin’s order went into effect earlier this month to protect the health of those who work on state property and visitors, she said. Fallin issued in a statement, “One of my top priorities as governor is to protect the well-being of our citizens, and e-cigs and ‘vaping devices’ contain addictive properties, like nicotine, and emit chemicals that are harmful to people who choose not to use them.”

More than 200 companies in the U.S. manufacture the e-cigs, according to the American Cancer Society, among them, top cigarette brands such as R.J. Reynolds. E-cigarettes are operated by a battery and emit a vapor after being inhaled.

“E-cigarette products are unique and have their own issues,” Grau said. “I don’t think that they are the same as a cigarette so I don’t think they should be regulated the same way as cigarettes.”

Businesses and entities should be able to ban the use of vaping on their own properties, Grau said. Vaping should be kept out of the hands of minors, he added. The CDC reported in September that the use of e-cigs has surged among teenagers, more than doubling in 2012.

“Some of them come in candy flavors which makes them very appealing to youth,” said Joy Donavon Brandon, an ACS spokesperson.

Grau said he awaits the Food and Drug Administration to release an opinion on the e-cigarettes impact on health, he said. E-cigs are not regulated by the FDA, but the FDA has announced it will do so.

“We at the American Cancer Society know there has been a dramatic increase in the use of e-cigarettes,” Brandon said. “Because of that we ask the FDA to regulate these products so the consumer can determine what ingredients e-cigs contain.”

The ACS does not have a position on whether the use of e-cigs may lead to cancer because they are not regulated by the FDA, Brandon said.

“We can tell you that these products have not been proven to be safe,” Brandon said. “And, they have not been proven scientifically as an effective way to quit smoking either.”

A study in New Zealand revealed that e-cigs are as effective as nicotine patches in helping people to drop their smoking habit.

Potentially harmful constituents also have been documented in some e-cig cartridges, including irritants, genotoxins and animal carcinogens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Most of them don’t include their ingredients,” Brandon said. “Some of them have been found to contain nicotine which is a highly-addictive substance.”

TO LEARN more about the health impact of e-cigarettes, go to http://www.cdc.gov/search.do?queryText=e-cigarettes&searchButton.x=0&searchButton.y=0&action=search.

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