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Rep. Kolste Introduces Indoor E-Cigarette Ban

(MADISON) – Rep. Debra Kolste (D-Janesville) is circulating legislation that would add vapor devices (being called “Electronic Smoking Devices (ESDs)” by the sponsor) to Wisconsin’s indoor smoking ban, Kolste, a Democrat, represents the 44th Assembly District, which mainly consists of the city of Janesville.

Debra Kolste

Rep. Debra Kolste

Sponsors are claiming that vapor products contain harmful levels of “toxins” found in traditional cigarettes, including higher levels of nickel and other toxic chemicals like lead and zinc. They claim research shows that these toxins are released into the air as secondhand e-cigarette “smoke,” although the levels at which they are found are highly unlikely to pose any health risks to the user, let alone to bystanders.

“Allowing the use of ESDs in establishments that fall under the state’s smoke-free laws undermines the very purpose of the smoking ban,” said Kolste. “The legislature passed the smoking ban to protect public safety, and allowing people to use e-cigarettes in smoke-free venues directly contradicts Wisconsin’s efforts to create healthier indoor environments for workers and patrons alike.”

The World Health Organization recommends that ESDs not be used indoors in order to minimize the risk of exposure to second-hand e-cigarette smoke. However, dozens of health experts have called the WHO to task for spreading disinformation about vapor products.

According to the press release, an analysis by the US Food and Drug Administration found that nearly one-third of adverse-event reports for ESDs are related to secondhand exposure. Although there are an estimated 2.5 million vapor product consumers in the U.S., there were only 33 complaints by non-users nationwide, which were not verified by the agency.

“It only makes sense to close this e-cigarette loophole and honor the intent behind Wisconsin’s indoor smoking ban,” Kolste said. “It’s time we extinguish the use of e-cigarettes in indoor establishments.”

Kristin Noll-Marsh

Kristin Noll-Marsh, WSAC

“Actually, the purpose of state’s smoke-free laws is to protect the public specifically from smoke, not vapor. The ‘intent’ of the law was to protect people from actual harm. There is no such evidence that e-cigarette vapor is a hazard to the users, let alone to bystanders,” said Kristin Noll-Marsh, of the Wisconsin Smoke-free Alternatives Coalition (WSAC). WSAC is a loosely-formed, grassroots organization that works to assure the availability and affordability of smoke-free products, such as e-cigarettes, for adult smokers.

“Lawmakers are exaggerating the levels of chemicals that have been detected in some of the vapor products,” Noll-Marsh said. “Simply detecting a chemical does not mean that product is automatically harmful. If you look closely enough, you can find chemicals that are toxic at higher levels in everyday products we consider safe – like flouride and sodium. You have to prove that there is even something to be protected from before you try to ban it’s use in public. That has not been established at all.”

“This is an unscientific witch hunt, unapologetically lobbied by special interest groups that receive funding from companies that make competing products. By the time these groups are proven to be wrong -at least to their satisfaction – it will be too late. Millions of smokers across the country will be dead, because they believed this misinformation and just kept smoking.”

Noll-Marsh testified in Madison in early 2014 in support of Senator Glenn Grothman’s bill to exclude vapor products from the state’s smoking ban. She says she was told by several lawmakers at the time that there was no need for such a law, because no one was trying to prohibit public use.

“I told them [the laws] were coming and now they have. It makes no sense to ban the public use of products that contain less harmful chemicals than the typical indoor air at a restaurant and are reducing the smoke exposure to smokers and their families. More smokers using vapor products indoors means less smokers stand outside on the sidewalk. It’s also a great incentive to get smokers to switch,” Noll-Marsh noted.

WSAC plans to unite consumers and their families from all over the state to fight the ban, she says.

For more information,contact:
Kristin Noll-Marsh
Wisconsin Smoke-free Alternatives Coalition
Phone: 414-403-3737
Email: kristin.noll.marsh@gmail.com

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Adult Smoking Rate in Wisconsin at Record Low (Video)

Mon 10:52 PM, Dec 08, 2014       By: Kevin Carr

Fewer adults smoking

More adults in Wisconsin are kicking the smoking habit.

That’s according to a study from the Wisconsin Department of Health, which shows the state’s adult smoking rate at 18 percent. That’s 2 percent less than in 2012, and about on par with the national average.

Paul White is just one of those adults. He says he used tobacco for most of his life, and but broke the habit through vaping-inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device. He started out with e-cigarettes, and now uses vaporizer pens.

“I was still craving the Nicotene,” White explained. “I was more concerned with my lungs, and the carcinogens that you get from combustible tobacco.”

Health experts say the current adult smoking rate is proof that prevention programs and efforts are making a difference, while tobacco stores say more people like White are switching to alternatives like vaping….

Read More: http://www.wsaw.com/home/headlines/Adult-Smoking-Rate-in-Wisconsin-at-Record-Low-285169351.html

Call to Action! Madison Wisconsin Vapor Ban

This Call to Action will be updated as we receive more information about upcoming meetings and public hearings.

UPDATE 12/31/2014

The vapor ban is CONFIRMED on the January 6 Common Council agenda (Agenda #32). The Madison-Dane County Board of Health will be recommending to the Concil that they adopt the prposed amendments (shown starting on page 400 of the PDF link) to define “smoking” to include using any vapor device (regardless of nicotine content) and to prohibit such use anywhere smoking is banned.Call_to_Action_Icon

Vapor shops (defined as 75% or more income from vapor products sales and no liquor license) are exempted from this ordinence HOWEVER, ONLY IF THE STORE EXISTED BEFORE FEB. 2015. That means no new stores will be able to allow customers to try products in the store.

Additionally, the ordinance language LIES about “proven dangers” linked to e-cigarettes. This lie wil be made into law and then used to promote further restrictions and possibly taxes:

“have been proven to emit nicotine, ultra-fine particles, volatile organic compounds and other toxins. Inhalation of nicotine is proven to be dangerous to everyone, especially children and pregnant women.

Exposure to ultrafine particles may exacerbate respiratory illnesses, such as asthma and may constrict arteries which could trigger a heart attack. The volatile organic compounds, such as formaldehyde and benzene, found in electronic smoking device aerosols, as well as conventional cigarette smoke, are proven carcinogens.”

There is NO EVIDENCE that the vast majority of vapor products contain anything that pose a second-hand danger to children or pregnant women, exacerbate respiratory illness, constrict arteries or cause cancer.

Please see the WSAC CALL TO ACTION for contact information of the Common Council and PLAN TO ATTEND TO SPEAK!

(NOTE: Based on the tone of the agenda, they clearly expect to see a crowd on January 6th, so lets give it to them!! PLEASE DO NOT VAPE IN THE BUILDING!)

Please download, print and hand out the flyer below to fellow vapers and vape shops!
Madison Flyer Thumbnail

UPDATE 12/11/2014

The Board of Health is recomending the ordinance to the city council. The Board of Park Commissioners declined the changes.

The ordinance now goes back to the city council for a final vote, most likely at the next meeting on January 6, 2015 at 6:30 PM at 210 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Madison, WI, United States Rm 201.

Please check back frequently for updates and join the Wisconsin Smoke-free Alternatives Coalition on Facebook!

The public is welcome (and strongly encouragd) to attend these meetings and address the lawmakers with their concerns and comments. Arrive early to sign up on the registration form to speak.

The City of Madison is poised to deceptively define smoke-free e-cigarette use as “smoking.”  The justification written into the proposed law makes misleading, false and/or unproven scientific claims about “ultra-fine particles” and “volitile organic compounds.”

This ordinance will prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in all places where conventional smoking is prohibited. This includes businesses that wish to cater to e-cigarette consumers and retailers that need to allow customers to try samples. The same proposed ordinance also extends the prohibited areas to include Madison parks and beaches, which would also apply to vaping.

Because 10 alders have sponsored this ordinance (see sponsor list below), they only need just one more vote for this ordinance to pass. We strongly recommend members first focus efforts contacting the lawmakers who are not already on board with this proposal, to convince them not to vote in favor. However, be sure to also contact the sponsors to let them know how you disapprove of their decision to support this ordinance. (more…)

Call to Action Wauwatosa Vapor Ban!

UPDATE 12/11/2014

Thanks to the efforts of Wisconsin and Minnesota advocates and CASAA, the Wauwatosa City Council has decided not to include vapor products in the City’s smoking ordinance at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation and alert Wisconsin residents if there is any further action taken. 

Call_to_Action_IconWauwatosa Health Officer Nancy Kreuser is urging the city to pass an ordinance that would prohibit smoking with electronic devices in public places, and also prohibit the sale of such devices to minors. The State of Wisconsin already prohibits the sale of nicotine products to minors, however, WSAC does not oppose also prohibiting the sale of devices to minors.

The Community Development Committee considered Kreuser’s proposed ordinance Nov. 25, and voted 3-3 on a recommendation to approve it. That meant it got introduced to the Common Council Dec. 2, but it will go back to the committee, likely December 9, 2014.

Location:   City of Wauwatosa
7725 W. North Avenue
Wauwatosa, WI  53213
Where:   Committee Room #1
When: Second and last Tuesday of each month
Time: 7:00 pm

The public is welcome (and strongly encouragd) to attend these meetings and address the lawmakers with their concerns and comments. Arrive early to sign up on the registration form to speak. (more…)

Myths About E-cigarette Use In Public

E-CIGARETTES WILL COMPLICATE SMOKING BAN ENFORCEMENT
Man VapingElectronic cigarette use is easy to distinguish from actual smoking. Although some e-cigarettes resemble real cigarettes, many do not. It is easy to tell when someone lights a cigarette from the smell of smoke. E-cigarette vapor is practically odorless, and generally any detectable odor is not unpleasant and smells nothing like smoke. Additionally, e-cigarette users can decide whether to release any vapor (“discreet vaping”). With so little evidence of use, enforcing use bans on electronic cigarettes would be nearly impossible. Cities with smoking bans have had little to no issue with e-cigarette use in public space. E-cigarette consumers are overwhelmingly considerate to the feelings of bystanders. Businesses that do not wish to allow e-cigarettes in their establishments simply ask patrons not to use them.

PUBLIC E-CIGARETTE USE WILL RE-NORMALIZE SMOKING BEHAVIOR
E-cigarette use does not promote the smoking of traditional cigarettes, nor does it threaten the gains of tobacco control over the past few decades. In fact, by normalizing e-cigarette use over traditional smoking, the efforts of tobacco control are being supported. If anything, e-cigarette use de-normalizes conventional smoking by setting the example of smokers choosing a far less harmful alternative to traditional smoking. The CDC surveys clearly show that there has been no “gateway effect” causing non-smokers to start smoking. As e-cigarettes have become more popular, all available evidence is showing that more and more smokers are quitting traditional cigarettes, including youth smokers.

Studies show that the children of smokers have a significantly higher risk of smoking initiation and the longer their parents smoke, the higher that risk. On the other hand, children of parents who had quit smoking were no more likely to smoke than children of parents who had never smoked. Children of non-smokers are more than 3X less likely to smoke, regardless of their exposure to smoking behaviors seen in public, on television or in advertising. Therefore, indoor e-cigarette use bans that purport to protect the low-risk children of non-smoking parents from seeing smoking behaviors completely overlook the unintended consequences of the extremely high risks from continued exposure to smoking behaviors by the children of smokers (who may have otherwise quit if e-cigarettes had not been prohibited in public spaces.)

PSA_Bright_ecigLAWMAKERS MUST “ERR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION” FOR PUBLIC HEALTH
To err on the side of caution, one must also look for unintended consequences. Are you being cautious of the right thing? Do the benefits of a law outweigh the risks?
Smoking bans protect bystanders from second-hand smoke, which has been established as being a health risk, but one far lower than actually smoking. E-cigarettes reduce the risk of smoking to far lower than even second-hand smoke, so the health risks of second-hand vapor would logically be hundreds of times lower than even second-hand smoke. The only benefit of including e-cigarettes in smoking bans is protecting bystanders from infinitesimal levels of just a tiny fraction of the chemicals found in second-hand smoke.

On the other hand, there is a unique phenomenon observed and documented with e-cigarette consumers called “accidental quitting.” Smokers purchase an e-cigarette to use where they cannot smoke or because they are less expensive and find, over time, that they prefer the e-cigarette to their conventional cigarettes. They move from dual use (using both the e-cigarette and conventional cigarettes) to using just the e-cigarette alone. This can happen over several months or in just a few days.
Put simply, laws that result in just one smoker still smoking because an important incentive has been compromised causes far greater harm than hundreds of bystanders exposed to vapor in public spaces.

E-CIGARETTE ADVOCATES MISUNDERSTAND THE INTENT OF LAWMAKERS
Often, when confronted with opposition by e-cigarette advocates, lawmakers assert that the intent is not to ban e-cigarettes altogether. They try to assure their constituents that they are not banning the sale of e-cigarettes to adult smokers and the devices can still be used in where smoking is allowed.
However, this misses the point completely. E-cigarette advocates aren’t there to ensure they can still use their products in a store, office building, restaurant or bar. Experienced e-cigarette consumers know that enforcement of the ban is nearly impossible. As explained earlier, the vapor leaves no tell-tale signs. Additionally, if the vapor is held in the lungs for just a short time, it’s completely invisible when exhaled.

The reason advocates are standing before you and telling their stories about how e-cigarettes have changed their lives is not because they are fighting for themselves. They are fighting for all of the smokers who haven’t yet quit. They want you to know how banning e-cigarette use will deny other smokers of their success story. They are fighting to keep every incentive possible available to encourage smokers to switch. They want you to understand how treating e-cigarettes like conventional cigarettes will just keep smokers smoking and even possibly push those dual users completely back to smoking by removing their only incentive to quit.

LAWS ARE NEEDS TO PROVIDE COMFORT FOR THE PUBLIC
Smoking bans were not intended for public “comfort.” Smoking bans were intended to protect the public from second-hand smoke, the dangers of which were ostensibly science-based. The science on e-cigarettes overwhelmingly shows e-cigarettes have miniscule risks, if any. The comfort of patrons and employees of privately-owned businesses is the responsibility of the owners of that business. If an employer or owner finds that the vapor from e-cigarette consumers is a distraction or discomfort, the decision to prohibit use on their property should be theirs alone. Contrarily, if the owner of a bar, tobacco store or e-cigarette store decides he wishes to cater to e-cigarette consumers that should be his prerogative.

It should be noted that adult e-cigarette consumers expect to be able to try flavors before purchasing. Prohibiting indoor use would force customers outside to sample vapor products.
An additional consideration should be made for businesses that cater to adult smokers. One unintended consequence of smoking bans has been the increase in litter and late-night noise outside of such establishments. Smokers who have switched to e-cigarettes currently remain inside, reducing the noise.

E-CIGARETTE BANS DON’T AFFECT PRIVATE USE
Elderly wheelchair smoking outsideOne final unintended consequence to consider. Many smoking bans may now or in the future include residences, such as nursing homes, assisted living apartments, multi-unit dwellings and government housing. Such bans are based on complaints that smoke residue not only ruins the units, but that smoke travels through walls and vents into other units, which may pose a health risk. Vapor would be included in such bans although it does not behave in the same manner. Again, this creates a disincentive for elderly and handicapped smokers to switch. Instead, they will continue to go out into the cold, often at night and in high-risk neighborhoods. Some may be forced to walk far from the building, because they are required to leave the property. Additionally, some municipalities are starting to prohibit smoking in outdoor spaces, such as beaches and parks, where e-cigarette vapor wouldn’t be noticeable in any way. It makes no sense to apply these same rules to low-risk vapor products.

The Science Behind E-cigarettes

NICOTINE
• Nicotine is not a carcinogen.

• It is the carcinogens and toxins in smoke that increase the risk of smoking-related diseases, not the nicotine.

• The FDA reported in 2014 that long-term nicotine use, outside of smoking, is not a significant health risk.

• Nicotine levels in e-cigarette vapor are too low to be toxic.

• Recent studies of ulcerative colitis patients treated with 15 mg nicotine patches show that nicotine alone is not particularly addictive, even after 6 months of treatment.

VAPOR VS. SMOKE
• Vapor is actually a liquid converted into a fine mist. Smoke is the result of burning solid matter.

• Vapor does not create harmful carbon monoxide as smoke does.

• Unlike smoke, vapor does not leave a lingering odor in the air.

• Vapor does not travel as far from the consumer as smoke and it dissipates quickly.

• The smell of vapor doesn’t settle on people and objects. Unlike smoke, it is nearly impossible to tell if someone has been exhaling vapor in a room without being there to see it happen.

CARCINOGENS & TOXINS
Ecigarettes and Formaldehyde ChartThe levels of carcinogens found in one sample of e-liquid by the FDA in 2009 was identical to the level that can also be found in FDA-approved nicotine patches. It is clearly not a health concern.

• A Marlboro cigarette has over 11,000 ng/g of tobacco-specific carcinogens. E-cigarettes and pharmaceutical nicotine patches both have around 8 ng/g.

• Reports of finding formaldehyde and other chemicals in e-cigarette vapor fail to disclose that the levels found (0.013 ppm), on average, are lower than can be detected in average city indoor/outdoor air (0.03 ppm).

• A 2009 FDA press statement claimed to find “toxins” after testing e-cigarettes, including diethylene glycol (DEG), a chemical found in antifreeze. Reviews of the FDA testing found that only the DEG was found (no other “toxins” were reported) in just one sample, at non-toxic levels. The company that made the sample no longer sells e-cigarettes and in the 5 years since the report, no e-cigarette consumer has reported DEG poisoning.

• While nicotine can be highly toxic, the levels found in the vapor are too low to be toxic. A recent spate of news reports about calls to poison control centers regarding e-cigarettes do not specify whether the call was an actual poisoning situation or simply informational inquiries. There have been no reports from emergency rooms or pediatricians of actual child poisonings causing injury or death due to e-cigarettes. A typical bottle of e-liquid contains only 2.4% or less nicotine and while it may smell appealing, the actual taste in un-vaporized form is extremely bitter.

• There have been nearly 100 separate studies done on e-cigarettes, many testing for carcinogens and toxins. While some have found trace evidence of chemicals and metals, the levels found were extremely low, unless researchers “misused” the devices in a way a consumer never would. A comprehensive study done in 2003 by Dr. Igor Burstyn (Drexel University School of Public Health) reviewed all available e-cigarette chemical tests and found that chemicals in e-cigarettes pose no health concern for users or bystanders based on generally accepted exposure limits.

• Reports of “ultra-fine particulates” found in vapor are misleading. Particulates in cigarette smoke are “solid” particulates, while particulates in vapor are water particulates (otherwise known as “droplets.”) The effect on the lungs is not comparable in any way. For example, fine solid particulates inhaled while in a sandstorm are not comparable to the fine liquid particulates inhaled while standing in a rain storm.

YOUTH USE, FLAVORS & THE “GATEWAY EFFECT”
• The CDC started tracking youth use in 2011, however, e-cigarettes have been available since 2007.

• While youth use is on the rise, youth smoking continues to decline significantly year after year.
High School Smoking vs Ecigs NO LOGO
• The vast majority of youth who said they tried e-cigarettes stated they smoke conventional cigarettes.

• There is no evidence youth smokers who said they use e-cigarettes were non-smokers before using e-cigarettes.

The CDC youth survey did not ask the students which product they used first. Therefore, there is no evidence that non-smoking youth are trying e-cigarettes and “graduating” to smoking.

• Because the smoking rate is far higher than the reported e-cigarette use but has been declining since e-cigarettes became available, it is logical to conclude e-cigarettes are not leading non-smoking youth to smoke.

• Non-smoking youth who try e-cigarettes may have otherwise been trying smoking if e-cigarettes had not been available.

• Children of smokers benefit when their parents switch to low risk alternatives. It not only reduces their exposure to second-hand smoke at home and in cars, but significantly reduces the high risk that they will become smokers themselves.

• The claim that adult smokers do not want “candy” flavors is patently false and based on conjecture and personal bias. Numerous surveys of adult e-cigarette users shows that non-tobacco flavors are an important part of moving away from smoking.

• Once smokers quit smoking, their sense of taste returns. Many report that tobacco no longer appeals to them and even tastes especially foul after using pleasant-flavored e-cigarettes.

• FDA-approved pharmaceutical nicotine products, clearly intended to appeal adult smokers, come in flavors such as Cherry, Mint, Orange, Cinnamon Surge and Fruit Chill. Liquor companies market vodka flavors such as Cotton Candy, Bubble Gum and Peanut Butter & Jelly to appeal to the nostalgia of adult consumers. The idea that flavors can only exist to target youth and not adult smokers is clearly disingenuous.

Is it true that sweet-flavored nicotine products are targeting youth?
       Is it true that sweet-flavored nicotine products are targeting youth?

 

What Is Tobacco Harm Reduction?

Harm reduction is the principle that it is often inappropriate to just demand that people forgo an activity because it entails risks, and therefore it is wise to reduce the risks instead. Typically it is used to refer to activities that some people consider “immoral” and thus are inclined to demand that they just cease – such as sexual activity (where condoms serve as harm reduction) or injection drug use (where providing clean needles serves as harm reduction). But this principle applies to activities without such stigma as well. For example, motorized transport is quite dangerous, but society does not tell people to avoid it (not even for “unnecessary” travel); rather, we provide seatbelts and other safety features and try to make the roads safe. For stigmatized behaviors, the justification for harm reduction often includes the observation that even if one wants to end the activity, it is not going to happen, so better to make it less harmful (e.g., teenagers are going to have sex, so better that they use condoms).PSA_Bicycle

Tobacco harm reduction applies these principles to tobacco use. In particular, it encourages people who are going to use tobacco to not smoke (which is extremely hazardous) but to use low-risk alternatives instead. Most smoke-free tobacco/nicotine products, including smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes, and NRT (pharmaceutical nicotine) are roughly 99% less harmful than smoking, and many would-be smokers find one or more of them to be a good alternative to smoking. It must be stressed just how great the harm reduction is with THR. Other attempts to reduce harm by offering lower-risk forms of the behavior (ie. seat belts, bike helmets) reduce the risk by 10% or 50%, whereas THR comes very close to eliminating the risks entirely.

What Is An E-cigarette?

An e-cigarette is a smoke-free device used almost exclusively as an alternative to smoking. They generally consist of a tube-shaped battery, an “atomizer”P1100738 (heating coil) that heats the liquid to produce an aerosol (which is called “vapor”), and a cartridge or “tank” to hold the liquid. Basic models that are most commonly sold in convenience stores and gas stations have a similar size, shape and look of a conventional cigarette, while more advanced models sold online and in specialty e-cigarette stores are generally larger and do not resemble a conventional cigarette.

E-cigarettes are very low risk compared to smoking, estimated to pose in the neighborhood of 1/100th the risk. Many of those who use e-cigarettes felt like they would never be able to quit smoking until they discovered that e-cigarettes were a satisfying substitute. The devices provide an alternative source of nicotine, one of the most compelling aspects of smoking, but without the harmful smoke (nicotine absent smoke has risks that are so low as to be undetectable). E-cigarettes further simulate the smoking experience by delivering an aerosol that is similar to inhaling smoke, as well as offering similar hand-and-mouth experience. (Other low-risk smoke-free products also deliver nicotine but do not provide the rest of the experience).

Some opponents of e-cigarettes have made an analogy of the harm reduction potential of e-cigarettes compared to smoking as “jumping out of the 15th story instead of the 100th story of a building.” This is a gross misrepresentation of how much lower the risks of any smoke-free products are compared to smoking. Realistically, using the same analogy, it’s more like jumping from the 100th story or taking the stairs!

UPDATED Thursday, March 13, 2014 — 1:06 p.m

e+cigarette+smallMADISON, Wis. (AP) — A bill allowing electronic cigarettes indoors has cleared a Wisconsin Senate committee.

The Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee voted 3-2 on Thursday to pass the bill that would exempt the newly popular e-cigarettes from the state’s indoor smoking ban.

Republican Sen. Glenn Grothman, the bill’s sponsor, says he’s never smoked cigarettes but that he’s tried the electronic devices and that he can’t smell the vapor.

Smokers back use of e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking conventional cigarettes.

Doctors and scientists say toxic particles in the nicotine-laced vapor could be dangerous to others. They say the state should wait for more research on potential hazards before allowing widespread use indoors.

The bill’s prospects are uncertain as both chambers have just two days left this session.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

Doctors, scientists express concerns on e-cigarette bill

By Associated Press, March 5, 2014

Madison — Even as the nation’s second-largest city is moving to ban electronic cigarettes where tobacco smoking is prohibited, Wisconsin lawmakers are considering doing just the opposite.

A Republican-sponsored bill to clarify that using e-cigarettes indoors is legal, despite a statewide ban on indoor smoking, drew opposition Wednesday from doctors, scientists and others who cited concerns over the product’s safety.

“If this bill passes, Wisconsin’s children with their young brains so sensitive to nicotine may be put at risk. Why would we do that?” said Dr. Michael Fiore, a University of Wisconsin professor who also founded the UW Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention.

The science behind whether the vapors from the devices are toxic to bystanders hasn’t caught up with the widespread use, and five states and dozens of cities — including the nation’s three largest — have moved to treat the newly popular e-cigarettes nearly the same as conventional cigarettes. The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday voted to ban the use of electronic cigarettes in workplaces and public areas.

Sen. Glenn Grothman’s bill would do the opposite, explicitly allowing e-cigarette users to inhale the nicotine-laced vapors indoors despite the state’s 2009 law that prohibits indoor smoking.

“It’s sad that we have to introduce legislation to clarify that the smoking ban was not supposed to (affect) e-cigarettes,” said Grothman, a Republican from West Bend.

Advocates point to studies that show e-cigarette vapors may be many times less harmful than conventional cigarette smoke as a reason to prevent additional regulations.

Conservative radio host Vicki McKenna puffed on an e-cigarette before and after speaking to the senators. She said she smoked up to one or two packs of Camel Lights a day for 23 years before switching to e-cigarettes, she said, and stopping smoking.

“I found out that over the course of a few days I was able to transfer my dependency of cigarettes to the use of an e-cigarette with substantial benefits to my health,” McKenna said.

Read More: http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/doctors-scientists-express-concerns-on-e-cigarette-bill-b99219529z1-248670531.html