LETTER TO THE EDITOR: E-cigarettes should be treated the same as tobacco products

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

One key question a voter should ask when considering potential legislation is, “Who benefits from the bill?”

In the case of SB 841, under consideration in the Missouri Senate, the answer seems to be the tobacco industry.

This legislation apparently proposes a great idea: Prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. Taking a closer look, however, much more appears to be going on that could greatly impact Missouri’s policies on tobacco control.

As written, this bill creates a special classification for e-cigarettes, exempting them from existing tobacco laws.

Many health organizations oppose this bill, and with good reason. The e-cigarette industry wants everyone to believe that these products are a safer alternative to smoking.

Only a limited number of studies have examined the contents of the e-cigarette vapors; discovering heavy metals and volatile organic compounds in some of the products, along with some of the same toxins and nicotine as in traditional cigarettes.

The long-term health effects of inhaling e-cigarette vapors are scientifically undetermined.

E-cigarettes should be regulated on public-health terms in the interest of our citizens’ well-being. Missouri should treat e-cigarettes like all other tobacco products until more research is conducted, and our Missouri Senate should amend this bill to include e-cigarettes in the current definition of tobacco products.

Margie Mitchell lives in Columbia.

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John Schultz April 16, 2014 | 11:20 a.m.

Maybe we should wait for those additional studies before lumping e-cigarettes in with tobacco, eh?

I would recommend people read tobacco reseacher Michael Siegel's blog before believing all the propaganda against e-cigarettes, a lot of which is pushed by people in the tobacco control industry to seem relevant and attract grant money.

(Report Comment)
Richard Saunders April 16, 2014 | 1:10 p.m.

I love it when my day is blessed with the coherence of someone demanding that a non-tobacco substance be put into the tobacco category, because... reasons!

It's one thing to watch political types fighting over control of the figurative "gun up against the head of society." It's quite another though, to actually watch them shoot themselves with it.

If only they could all be so successful at this trick, perhaps then a peaceful coexistence might emerge in the vacuum? Until then though, we get to watch these busy-bodies mind everyone's business, but their own.

I feel so fortunate to live in a world organized by lawyers.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 16, 2014 | 2:43 p.m.

I'd like to AGAIN point out that the United States exports significant amounts of both tobacco products and coal.

Are we to assume that when tobacco products are smoked or chewed by foreign nationals in some far away country that opportunities for lung or mouth cancer or other pulmonary problems just disappear?

Regarding coal exports, two of America's major railroads derive much of their corporate profits from hauling bituminous coal from our Eastern mines to ports. (This is some of the highest caloric value coal we have.) May we assume this coal isn't burned by those receiving it?

In both cases, our federal government does not discourage these practices, because they help keep our trade inbalance from being even worse than it is.

My, what hypocrites we are!

(Report Comment)

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