219031 Electronic Cigarettes: A Fad or Serious Public Health Threat

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 1:10 PM - 1:30 PM

Cynthia Hallett, MPH , Executive Director, American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, Berkeley, CA
Annie Tegen, MPH , American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, Berkeley, CA
The rise in popularity of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, has many in the public health community scrambling to determine whether they are just a fleeting fad or a viable product that will take over the traditional tobacco cigarettes market. While they are promoted by manufacturers as ‘safe' alternatives to cigarettes, there isn't much science from anyone other than e-cigarette manufacturers. Advocates also question whether e-cigarettes are a deliberate development in response to the proliferation of smokefree laws internationally, or simply happy coincidence. Regardless, e-cigarette manufacturers are promoting the product as one that can be used in “smokefree” environments including restaurants, bars, and airplanes.

While a recent Federal Court ruling prohibits the FDA from regulating e-cigarettes as drugs or medical devices, advocates still have options to prevent the proliferation of these devices. New model language has been drafted to include e-cigarettes as a prohibited item that cannot be used in smokefree environments. Thus far, only a few jurisdictions with recently enacted laws have included e-cigarettes in the definition of “smoking material.” In addition, ANR has conducted an initial review of airline policies and has determined that three airlines have written policies prohibiting e-cigarettes on airplanes and at least one shamelessly distributes them onboard. Ongoing research is underway to determine airline policies that either permit or prohibit e-cigarettes. This presentation will discuss the current e-cigarette phenomenon, as well as review current airline policies and city/state legislation regulating the use of e-cigarettes in traditionally smokefree environments.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe current status of policies and laws that pertain to e-cigarette usage in traditionally smokefree workplace, public places, and on airplanes 2. Explain pros and cons of the current science on e-cigarettes

Keywords: Tobacco Policy, Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have 20 years of experience in tobacco control, with a special emphasis in smokefree issues and tobacco industry and allied behavior.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.