Smokefree DC is a citizen-based group whose goal is to promote smokefree environments in Washington, DC.

E-cigarettes may be subject to Capitol smokefree policy

A move is afoot on Capitol Hill to protect nonsmokers from the unknown effects of the chemicals emitted by e-cigarettes.

According to a recent Politico story, some Democrats are calling for e-cigarettes to be included in the Capitol’s smokefree policy.

That’s absolutely the right thing to do, for two reasons:

1) We know that visible, smoke-like vapor comes out of e-cigarettes, but we don’t know exactly what chemicals are in the vapor; and

2) E-cigarettes look like cigarettes, and when they are used, they emit white vapor that looks and smells like cigarette smoke. Permitting the use of e-cigarettes in smokefree areas could cause confusion and prompt smokers of real cigarettes to light up.

The lawmakers who are pushing this sensible measure are U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and U.S. Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.).

They should be commended, and the D.C. Council should follow suit.

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