Louisville, Kentucky, health officials are calling for a ban on vaping in public areas, saying e-cigarettes are a threat to “clean air standards.”
The American Heart Association and American Lung Association have been fighting for months to tighten up vaping restrictions. The health officials agree that placing a ban on the use of e-cigarettes as well as hookah products in public space “will act to protect Louisville Metro’s clean air standards, protect against secondhand exposure to harmful chemicals, and improve enforcement efforts.”
“Support is mounting to restrict the use of electronic cigarettes and hookah in indoor public settings in the best interest of the public’s health,” said Mayor Greg Fischer after receiving a 77-page report containing requests from four different health organizations pushing for the ban.
Advocacy groups for vapor product companies complain that the public indoor ban would result in the closing of small businesses. “We employ a lot of people in the city and across the state,” says Keith Hadley, co-founder of the Kentucky Smoke Free Association. “These aren’t businesses that are owned by huge corporations. Most of them are locally owned, mom-and-pop shops.”
Councilman Brandon Coan, who represents an area where many e-cigarette retailers and hookah bars are located, pointed out that when the original smoking ban was passed in 2008 against public traditional cigarette smoking, “Places where people smoke have adapted.”
E-cigarettes have been found to contain harmful chemicals linked to cancer and lung disease, such as acetoin, formaldehyde, diacetyl and its close cousin, 2,3-pentanedione.
Diacetyl and 2,3 pentanedione, chemicals used in flavorings to mimic the creamy taste of butter, have been associated with the development of bronchiolitis obliterans, also known as “popcorn lung” for the microwave popcorn plant workers who developed the disease in early 2000 after long-term exposure. It is a serious lung disease in which the smallest airways become scarred and restricted, diminishing breathing, with symptoms similar to COPD. The disease is incurable, and is only treated by lung transplant.