Cal NORML Emergency Consumer Alert: Beverly Hills, San Diego County Moving to Ban E-Cigarettes and Vaporizers
UPDATE November 6: Both Beverly Hills and San Diego County have decided to study the matter further. Neither implemented a ban at their meetings on Nov. 5.
TUESDAY NOV 5th
San Diego Board of Supes 9AM – Beverly Hills City Council 7 PM
Prohibitionists are on the warpath to deny consumers access to smokeless e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are broadly defined to include devices that can vaporize nicotine or any other substance, including medical marijuana!. These proposals are a slap in the face to countless medical marijuana patients, who are already prevented from smoking their medicine by current anti-smoking laws and have no recourse than to use smokeless vaporizers to inhale their medicine.
• In San Diego Co, the Board of Supervisors is holding 9 AM hearings on a bill to ban e-cigs/vaporizers in non-smoking areas. The evidence is overwhelming that e-cigarettes and vaporizers are effective in eliminating harmful toxins from smoke, and pose negligible risk of harm to secondhand bystanders, but opponents are trying to scare the public into believing they pose unacceptable risks. See Text of San Diego proposal (page 31).
• In Beverly Hills, the City Council is holding 7 PM hearings on an emergency ordinance to ban ALL SALES of e-cigs/vaporizers! The upshot would be that it would remain legal to sell cigarettes in BH, but the sale of vaporizers that have been proven to eliminate smoke toxins would be banned!
Tell lawmakers to stand up for consumers’ rights. E-cigs and vaporizers have proven harm reduction benefits; to ban them will only have adverse public health effects. Many former smokers report they have been able to give up smoking thanks to e-cigarettes. If you can’t attend Tuesday’s hearings, please make your views known to the responsible officials in S.D. and B.H. ASAP.
– Dale Gieringer, Cal NORML
California Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws 2261 Market St. #278A, San Francisco CA 94114 – www.canorml.org – (415) 563-5858 / (510) 540-1066
To Whom It May Concern:
Nov 4, 2013
California NORML wishes to explain our objections to the idea of restricting the sale and use of smokeless e-cigarettes and vaporizers for nicotine and other drugs, including marijuana.
Scientific studies have shown that e-cigarettes and vaporizers are effective “harm reduction” devices that drastically reduce the respiratory hazards of smoking to the user while effectively eliminating second-hand exposure hazards to the public.
California NORML is particularly concerned that restrictions on vaporization would be harmful to medical cannabis patients, many of whom are currently prevented from smoking their medicine due to anti-smoking restrictions and must accordingly rely on smokeless vaporizers. Inhalation is the most effective method of dosage for most patients, due to its rapid onset and convenience for dosage self- titration.
Laboratory studies sponsored by California NORML have shown that vaporizers are effective in eliminating noxious smoke toxins from marijuana vapor, delivering a purified stream of medically active ingredients. Vaporizers and e-cigarettes don’t produce smoke in the first place because they don’t reach the point of combustion, but rather evaporate or exude liquid extracts of the active ingredients. This eliminates the toxic tars, gases and particulates which are the source of both primary and second-hand respiratory harms due to smoking.
In a study of the M-1 Volatizer® (a crude vaporization device compared to newer models), 100% of the measurable gaseous toxins – benzene, naphthalene and toluene – were eliminated from marijuana vapor.1 In a follow-up study, another vaporizer, the Volcano® , successfully eliminated over 100 solid-state tars and particulates from the vapor, delivering an effectively pure stream of selected, medically active ingredients (THC and terpenes) 2. The effectiveness of the Volcano was subsequently validated in clinical studies by California’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research3, and it has since been
approved as a medical device in the European Union. In light of the scientific evidence, California NORML has long
recommended that marijuana patients use vaporizers in order to avoid the respiratory hazards of smoking. In this connection, it should be noted that no second-hand health risks due to marijuana smoking have ever been documented; in fact, scientific studies have shown that, unlike tobacco, first-hand marijuana smoke causes neither cancer or emphysema. There is all the less reason to believe that second-hand exposure to smokeless emissions from marijuana vaporizers presents any health hazard to bystanders.
As for nicotine e-cigs, studies consistently show that they offer major harm reduction benefits to tobacco smokers by drastically reducing their exposure to harmful smoke toxins. Many ex-smokers report having successfully kicked the cigarette habit by substituting e- cigs instead.4 Restricting consumer access to smokeless e-cigs will therefore adversely impact public health by encouraging the substitution of more dangerous, smoked tobacco alternatives.
It is true that a few studies have purported to detect low-level emissions in certain models of e-cigarettes, but the amounts in question are negligible . There exist many different models of e-cigs, some of which don’t exude vapor at all, but rather oral liquid nicotine extracts. Others emit minimal emissions that pose no more threat to bystanders than those from kitchen grills, garden plants, detergents, deodorizers, gas stations and ambient pollution.
In conclusion, legal restrictions on the use or sale of smokeless vaporizers are unwarranted and harmful to consumer health. The decision whether to allow e-cigarettes and vaporizers should be left in the hands of individual property owners, tenants, and businesses, not pre-empted by city ordinance.
Dale Gieringer, Ph.D. Director, California NORML