By Adam Tobias | Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON, Wis. — Christian Berkey could almost feel his jaw hit the ground when, almost two years ago, he was speaking with a health commissioner in New York about electronic cigarettes.
Berkey, founder and CEO of Johnson Creek Enterprises, the second-largest producer of e-liquid in the world, couldn’t believe the public official thought users lit the electronic devices and inhaled smoke just like traditional cigarettes.
That conversation took place, Berkey says, just an hour before the commissioner was supposed to vote on guidelines for e-cigarettes.
“It scared the hell out of me,” Berkey told Wisconsin Reporter. “Unfortunately, that kind of thing is not an isolated incident. There are staggering numbers of legislators who are perfectly willing to vote on measures concerning electronic cigarettes, when, in fact, they know next to nothing about them.”
Because the e-cigarette industry is still relatively new, scientific evidence regarding human health effects is limited. But that hasn’t stopped government officials from passing more than 450 state and local laws restricting the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems.
Now one of Berkey’s worst fears, something he calls sheer irresponsible lunacy, has come to his home state.