American Lung Association in Massachusetts urges Massachusetts to update smokefree law to include e-cigarettes

Massachusetts laws forbid indoor smoking, but do not include e-cigarettes. (Image courtesy of Adobe Stock user Redpixel.)

By the American Lung Association

 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published an article in its Dec. 15, 2017, “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” providing an update on state e-cigarette laws as of Sept. 30, 2017. The article finds that eight states and the District of Columbia have included e-cigarettes in their smokefree laws, prohibiting use of them in all public places and workplaces where smoking is already prohibited. New York became the ninth state after the cut-off date for the article. The American Lung Association in Massachusetts believes the Commonwealth should be next to take this step.

“Expanding Massachusetts’ smokefree law is a commonsense measure to reduce the public’s exposure to secondhand e-cigarette emissions,” said Jeff Seyler, executive vice president, American Lung Association, Northeast Region. “It’s time for Massachusetts to catch up and prioritize our right to breathe healthy air that is free from secondhand smoke and aerosol by passing Rep. McMurtry and Sen. Lewis’ omnibus tobacco bill.”

While e-cigarettes do not contain smoke, they do expose others to secondhand emissions. The U.S. Surgeon General has concluded that e-cigarette aerosol is not harmless and may contain harmful and potentially harmful chemicals, including nicotine. Other studies have found formaldehyde, benzene and tobacco-specific nitrosamines (all carcinogens) contained in those secondhand emissions.

In recent years, the use of electronic cigarettes, e-cigars, e-hookahs and similar products have dramatically increased among children. Nationally, e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among both high school and middle school students with 11.3 percent of high school students and 4.3 percent of middle school students using them, according to CDC’s 2016 Youth Tobacco Survey.

“More than one in four high school students use at least one tobacco product, including e-cigarettes,” said Casey Harvell Bowers, director of public policy for the American Lung Association in Massachusetts. “Adding e-cigarettes to Massachusetts’ smokefree law will not only reduce secondhand e-cigarette emissions, but also help discourage use by our youth.”

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