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May 28, 2013 > Protection from e-cigarette harm

Protection from e-cigarette harm

Submitted By Sergio Reyes

Legislation authored by Senate Majority Leader Ellen M. Corbett (D-East Bay) passed the Senate Floor on May 24, 2013. SB 648 requires electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) to be regulated as a tobacco product and included in existing California smoke-free laws.

Following established federal court precedent that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the authority to regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products, SB 648 seeks to ensure that California health authorities also protect state residents from these products' potentially harmful effects.

"SB 648 limits the use of e-cigarettes as they pose unknown health risks in a public space," Corbett said. "We must always stand on the side of public health since we still do not yet fully understand the safety of chemicals present in e-cigarette vapors or when nicotine itself leaks from the products. It simply makes sense to regulate e-cigarettes as a tobacco product when they are already prohibited in many public spaces."

Concerns over the potential health risks of e-cigarettes have caused a growing number of state and local governments to prohibit their use in various public places, often under existing or new smoke-free laws. Amtrak has banned their use on trains and the Navy banned them below decks in submarines. The U.S. Department of Transportation has also proposed a ban aboard airplanes.

SB 648 is supported by Breathe California, California Medical Association and the California Black Health Network.

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