PLEASE READ: TODAY THERE WILL BE A HEARING THAT COULD POTENTIALLY TAKE AWAY YOUR RIGHTS!
To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Councilmember Kriss Worthington
Subject: Refer Electronic Cigarette Sale and Use to the Health Commission to
Consider Health Policy
Refer e-cigarette use to the Health Commission and request that they return to the
Council with a recommendation on whether or not to restrict the sale and use of nicotine
and non-nicotine e-cigarettes.
Electronic cigarettes (also known as “vapes”) are devices that release either a nicotine
or non-nicotine vaporized solution. E-cigarettes are advertised as a “safe” option to
traditional smoking, and are, for the most part, unregulated.
Despite the claim that e-cigarettes are “harmless to those around you,” there is still
much research needed to confirm this assertion. With the option of a nicotine vapor, ecigarettes
present a possible danger to users and those exposed, as nicotine can have
a negative effect on the heart and circulatory system.
Manufacturers are not mandated to disclose the ingredients in e-cigarette liquid or the
substances that make up e-cigarette vapor. E-cigarettes generally work by heating
cartridges filled with chemicals, which causes chemical reactions that may form new,
possibly unsafe, compounds. Without full knowledge of the risks e-cigarettes present or
regulations in place, community members may be subjected to harsh chemicals that
can lead to many health issues.
A 2012 study in the journal Indoor Air found that exhaling e-cigarette vapor “releases
measurable amounts of carcinogens and toxins into the air, including nicotine,
formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde”; exposure to these types of compounds may cause
mouth and throat irritation, the most frequently reported side effect among e-cigarette
users. Matt Springer, an associate professor at UCSF in the Division of Cardiology, a
proponent of the need for further e-cigarette research, asked, “Should drug-containing
vapors be allowed in patient care areas and day care centers before the risks are
understood? The sensible answer is no.”
Dr. Neal L. Benowitz of UCSF points out that there are other “potential harms, including
promoting smoking of cigarettes and renormalizing cigarette smoking behaviors.” He
goes on to discuss other potential population harms, including uptake of smoking by
non-smokers, hindering the denormalization of smoking, and a new source of air
pollution, particularly in places with smoke-free policies.
The reinvigoration of advertising is also a main concern because e-cigarette marketing
tends to be geared toward youth by using young models to sell the product as stylish
and desirable. Marketing paired with the availability of e-cigarettes online and in
shopping malls in a variety of flavors, has some public health experts concerned that ecigarettes
could increase nicotine use and addiction for young people. Understanding
the effects of e-cigarette is essential to determining future regulations.
In July 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) publicly discouraged the use
of electronic cigarettes, stating, “They do not contain any health warnings comparable to
FDA-approved nicotine replacement products or conventional cigarettes.” With such a
lack of knowledge regarding electronic cigarettes, it is essential that the Health
Commission conduct research into this issue and how it may affect the residents of
Kriss Worthington, Councilmember, 981-7170
Jennifer Welden, Intern, 981-7170