Guest Blogger: Don Weisman, Hawaii Government Relations Director
The American Heart Association issued new policy recommendations on August 25 on the use of e-cigarettes and their impact on tobacco-control efforts. Based on the current evidence, the Association’s position is that e-cigarettes that contain nicotine are tobacco products and should be subject to all laws that apply to these products.
The Association guidance also examines state smoke-free laws in relation to these products. While the toxic substances in e-cigarettes are lower than those in cigarette smoke, non-smokers could be involuntarily exposed to nicotine in any confined space where e-cigarettes are used. Unregulated e-cigarettes could potentially turn back the clock to the days when smoking in public was normal behavior, undoing years of work on smoke-free laws and hampering current enforcement. Given these concerns, the Association supports including e-cigarettes in these state laws, if the change can be made without weakening existing laws.
The AHA has received calls from business partners seeking guidance on e-cigarette usage in their workplace as some employee’s use of the devices at work have caused disruptions with co-workers not wanting to be exposed to the various aerosol toxins emitted by e-cigarettes. The AHA will join community partners during Hawaii’s 2015 State Legislative Session to work to incorporate e-cigarettes into Hawaii’s smoke-free air law. Watch for advocacy updates on this issue and your opportunity to support efforts to continue to protect public health in work and other public places.