PUBLIC STATEMENT REGARDING NEW ORLEANS SMOKING BAN
Today the New Orleans City Council took an important step in reducing tobacco cigarette usage among our citizens and visitors. Unfortunately, in doing so, they actively ignored the science showing that electronic cigarettes are fundamentally different products; and require fundamentally different treatment.
Councilmember Cantrell’s initial draft of the statute would have put local electronic cigarette purveyors out of business. LAECR appreciates that she admitted the oversight and made small concessions to remedy it. The changes, however, do not go nearly far enough, and treating these products as equivalent will discourage smokers from trying this important alternative.
The major result of the Council’s vote today is that electronic cigarettes will be mistakenly perceived by the New Orleans community as a public health concern equivalent to smoking tobacco. This is contrary to significant research and testimony- including statements made today by the Center for Disease Control, presented at the request of the bill’s sponsors.
By enacting an “anti-smoking” bill which wholly ignores the unique nature of electronic cigarettes, the City not only regulates in the wrong way, but fails to regulate properly. The products remain self-regulated. While LAECR requires its members to disclose nicotine levels, use child-resistant packaging, and create age verification programs, our offer to share the related data with the Council and work together to create safer products has been ignored.
Today’s vote as it relates to personal vaporizers was based on biased information provided by paid fearmongers, and by a desire to retain anti-smoking convention dollars without considering whether a balance could be struck preserving New Orleans’ stake in the projected $3.5 billion electronic cigarette industry. We hope that in the future, we can work with the City to ensure regulations in this arena are based on fact, science, voter opinion, and true public interest.
VP, Government Relations
Louisiana Association of Electronic Cigarette Retailers