Fewer places for E-cigarette smokers to puff

Published On: Dec 20 2013 06:10:24 PM HST
HONOLULU -

Beginning Jan. 1, electronic cigarette users cannot puff in Department of Health properties and premises occupied by its employees.

More than 80 buildings and 3,000 employees will be affected.

People call it "vaping" when they use an electronic smoking device as an alternative to smoking cigarettes. It's getting more and more popular, but also on the rise are bans on electronic smoking.

"As long as we are respectful of who is around us and we aren't blowing large vapor clouds around them, I think that's the most important. As long as we aren't smoking around them, it shouldn't be a big deal," said Alvin Der, manager at Vapor Etc.

But it's a big deal for officials with the State Department of Health. E-cigs are banned from all department properties. They don't buy the claims that the stuff billowing out of the devices is harmless.

"The claim that it's not smoke, it's only vapor is a manufacturer's claim. It's not a health claim," said Julian Lipsher with the Department of Health.

And they question the amount of nicotine vendors say is in the liquid.

"If you are sitting next to someone and you are a non-user, your blood levels of cotinine from an electronic cigarette are elevated just the same," said Lipsher.

"It's also shown to have traces of carcinogens, things that are cancer-causing, so there are toxic ingredients in there. It is not something that's regulated, so we are concerned about its health impact," said Lola Irvin with the Department of Health.

State health officials have doubts about those who promote e-cigs as a way to quit smoking.

With so many unknowns, the Health Department wants to keep its distance .

E-cigarettes have already been banned from major airlines, major theaters, school grounds and buses, and you have to be 18 or older to purchase one.

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