In a recent guest column for The Courier, state legislator Joel Kleefisch (R-District 38) took fellow lawmaker Rep. Debra Kolste (D – District 44) to task for her campaign to include the use of vapor products in Wisconsin’s statewide smoking ban.
“The emergence of electronic vapor devices has been celebrated by consumers and the industry as a beneficial aid to helping tobacco smokers fight the urge,” wrote Kleefisch. “Vapor devices contain nicotine without the tar, old mattresses and rat poison contained in tobacco cigarettes and cigars. In the body, nicotine has virtually the same effects as when caffeine is consumed. While coffee shop openings are celebrated, the use of vapor devices often elicits the negative connotation of cigarette smoking. Evidence strongly suggests that vapor devices are less harmful and very effective in helping people who are looking for a better alternative.”
“Right in Lake Country, the electronic vapor device industry is booming at Johnson Creek Enterprises,” he wrote. “They have only been in business for six years, but have seen unbelievable growth in the popularity of their products among consumers who want the opportunity to use a legal product. Businesses like this have opened the door to a flourishing industry that’s mission is providing consumers a choice other than smoking tobacco products.”
“Fellow state legislator Rep. Debra Kolste of Janesville introduced legislation that would include electronic vapor devices in the Wisconsin indoor smoking ban. The usage and selling of these products by minors is already against the law and should stay illegal. It’s not governments job to tell people of the legal age that they are not allowed to partake in a legal activity,” the lawmaker pointed out.
“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is already taking steps to monitor the ingredients in electronic vapor devices,” Kleefisch continued. “Remember, if a bar, restaurant, business or homeowner wants to ban vapor devices in their place, they can. Just as with the concealed carry law, the owner has the ability to set their own policies on electronic vapor devices because it is a legal activity in Wisconsin that is not a part of the indoor smoking ban.”
“The nanny state needs to stop interfering in our daily lives,” argued Kleefisch. “It’s no longer a matter of whether there will be efforts for government to step in and start up the vapor patrols. Many municipalities are rushing to enact ordinances that would ban electronic vapor devices from their cities, towns and villages. The process to prohibit this legal activity is already happening and could create a fight very similar to the smoking ban.”
“When the right to choose where an adult of legal age enjoys a legal activity becomes infringed, our freedoms are taken away,” he explained. “I am willing to take a stand against the interference of government bureaucrats in this legal activity. As always, I am certain some places will decide they don’t want nicotine devices used in their establishments. Let’s leave it up to the consumer to decide whom they will patronize with their pocketbooks.”
Rep. Kleefisch has done his homework and discovered the truth about vapor products. He was a sponsor of AB 762, which sought to exempt vapor devices from inclusion in state smoking bans. Unfortunately, the bill failed to pass. (One reason given to supporters of the blll, by lawmakers who voted against it, was that there weren’t any attempts to include vapor products in smoking bans, so it was “unnecessary.”) Rep. Kleefisch is also the spouse of the current Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin, Rebecca Kleefisch. WSAC is hopeful that she is of the same mind as her husband and will convince Governor Walker that banning the use of vapor products anywhere by law is bad for the health of Wisconsin smokers and bad for Wisconsin.
Please sign the Wisconsin Smoke-free Alternatives Coaltion (WSAC) petition requesting Wisconsin lawmakers oppose any laws prohibiting the use oif vapor products at Change.org and don’t forget to sign up for a free membership at WSAC today!