Electronic cigarettes are sold as an alternative to the traditional version. The battery operated devices create a vapor cloud to deliver nicotine to the user. But Democratic State Senator Mark Leno says the practice known as vaping is dangerous and e-cigarettes should be regulated like all other tobacco products.
"It’s still tobacco, it’s still nicotine, there’s still tar," he says. "When you heat these concoctions formaldehyde is emitted, which is a known carcinogen."
Leno’s bill, SB 140, would prohibit people from smoking e-cigarettes at schools, restaurants, workplaces and hospitals. More than 120 California cities and counties have already enacted regulations on e-cigarettes. Three states, North Dakota, New Jersey and Utah also have restrictions in place.
Gregory Conley says Leno's regulations would be mistake. He’s with the American Vaping Association and says it’s incorrect to imply using e-cigarettes is just as harmful as traditional smoking.
"It’s a completely irresponsible message to send to smokers," he says. "These are people that need truthful and accurate information about low-risk, smoke-free alternatives that could make them a non-smoker."
The US Food and Drug Administration says there is not enough information on e-cigarettes to know their potential risks or benefits. But it is recommending e-cigarettes be regulated like other tobacco products.