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Don't veto city's vaping bill

Baltimore can learn to 'vape responsibly' without tougher rules

The three self-proclaimed experts who recently called for a veto of Baltimore's e-cigarette bill are wrong in nearly every analysis they offer and every argument they make ("Don't fall for tobacco industry e-cigarette smoke screen," Nov. 24). The bill now before the mayor will do a lot to keep e-cigarettes out of children's hands while allowing adults who currently smoke cigarettes a greater opportunity to switch to a safer, better option.

While e-cigarettes may not be perfectly safe, they contain far, far fewer harmful chemicals than tobacco cigarettes. Their main users are adults who chose to use them conscious of any harm they may cause and knowledgeable that those with nicotine are addictive. Nobody, not even the self-anointed guardians of public health who wrote the letter, has a shred of evidence that e-cigarette vapor causes even 1 percent of the problems that have been linked to even second-hand cigarette smoke.

Contrary to what others might claim, the vape community is very much anti-Big Tobacco. As such, the rise of the vapor industry has seen the majority of the market-share in the collective hands of the independent companies that have no affiliation to Big Tobacco. Many of these independent companies, like my own, were founded on the principles of harm reduction and on creating a society free from the clutches of combustible cigarettes.

If we can drink responsibly, as most adults do, then we can vape responsibly. Adults who want to use e-cigarettes should be able to do so in almost any place that isn't full of children. And business owners should be free to decide on their own whether to allow the use of e-cigarettes and vape devices in their establishments. Any other policy direction is a full-frontal assault on personal liberty and autonomy.

Geoff W. Habicht, Baltimore

The writer is president and chief operating officer of SmokingVapor.

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