UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News) Both sides made strong arguments yesterday on whether smokers should be allowed to puff electronic cigarettes in the public areas of Wisconsin buildings. A Senate committee held a public hearing on a bill to exempt e-cigarettes from the state's public indoor smoking ban adopted in 2010.
The bill's supporters said the vapors from e-cigarettes are a lot less harmful than second-hand tobacco smoke. Doctors said the vapors spew heavy metals and other toxins into the air. Madison radio talk show host Vicki McKenna said she got healthier after she substituted e-cigarettes for one-to-two packs of Camel Lights she smoked each day for 23 years. Madison pediatrician Murray Katcher said e-cigarettes should be evaluated on the air they pollute -- and not whether they're safer than tobacco.
Doctor Michael Fiore of the U-W Madison Center for Tobacco Research said allowing e-cigarettes would put children who sensitive to nicotine at risk. He asked quote, "Why would we do that?" The bill's chief sponsor, Senate Republican Glenn Grothman of West Bend, said it's sad that he had to write a bill which clarifies that the state's smoking ban does not apply to electronics.
Several places, including Los Angeles, include e-cigarettes in their smoking bans.