SB 1147 which is backed by the parent company of Philip Morris USA, would raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco and vaping products to 21 and establish fines for violating the law. However some lawmakers and health advocates are arguing against this bill, as it would sidestep efforts to define e-cigarettes as tobacco.

Arizona researchers are wrongly stating that the issue of second hand vapour is the same as that of secondhand smoke

“Why would anybody accept a solution to the health crisis we are facing from the very industry that caused the crisis?” said Sen. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, who proposed a separate legislation which would restrict tobacco and e-cigarette usage. “They did this with cigarettes and now they think they can do this with e-cigarettes.”

On the other hand, this bill would remove all city-designated smoke-free areas in or near public buildings and facilities such as government offices, parks, public stadiums and public transportation, according to a review by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns. An article on AZCentral pointed out that SB 1147 would preempt local ordinances in the following ways:

  • “Voiding Phoenix, Tempe and other cities’ zoning boundaries for tobacco retailers that prohibit the sale of tobacco products within 1,320 ft of a school, park, day care facility, among others public places.
  • Removing local prohibitions on tobacco marketing and advertisements on or near public property, such as near schools, bus stops, park benches.
  • Eliminating licensing requirements for retail tobacco establishments. Tucson’s mandate, which has been in effect for 20 years, requiring a license for tobacco shops would be eliminated.
  • Allowing tobacco vending machines in liquor stores where minors can enter without anyone verifying their age. Currently, some cities only allow vending machines in bars that ID customers to ensure they’re 21 and specialty clubs that require membership.

Misinformation informing policy?

As these debates take place, Arizona researchers are wrongly stating that the issue of second hand vapour is the same as that of secondhand smoke. “So, it’s the same issue with secondhand smoke that secondhand vapor contains all the same chemicals as if you were vaping yourself, just as secondhand smoke contains all of the same chemicals as if you were smoking yourself,” said Judith Gordon a professor and interim associate dean for Research in the UA College of Nursing.

She referred to a study from UC Riverside, which found metal and some other particles in e-liquids and the aerosol it produces. “I think there’s a lot of misperceptions around vaping — that it’s harmless. And the more we learn about it and the more we know and the more that we can educate people who are vaping about the potential harms to themselves and others of the product,” said Gordon.

Meanwhile, a peer-reviewed study released last Summer which analysed differences between e-liquid vapour and cigarette smoke, had indicated that exhaled e-liquid vapour product particles are actually liquid droplets that evaporate within seconds. In line with what previous air samples had suggested, this study had indicated that vaping probably has a minimal impact on indoor air quality.

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