In August last year, I wrote about a meeting of the Allegheny County Board of Health which held a public hearing to help decide if there should be a ban on the indoor use of e-cigarettes in public places. Here is an extract:
'First to speak was Ryan Huntermark. The 21 year-old told the hearing that he started smoking at the age of 14. Mr Huntermark said he gave up smoking thanks to e-cigarettes, claims to be healthier than he was and has lost a 100 pounds in weight.
'Next to speak was Bill Godshall, executive director of Smokefree Pennsylvania. He thinks that an indoor ban on vaping would be counterproductive and said the proposed ban "“demonises vaping" and "stigmatises vapers.” He also commented on the impressive statistic that 7.4 million smokers in the United States have given up smoking through vaping.
'So far, so good, but despite the evidence so far that vaping is something that should be welcomed, Brian Primack, a University of Pittsburgh professor of medicine, was not convinced. He claims to have studied e-cigarettes for ten years. You can imagine how impressive that must have sounded to members of the County Board of Health! He said, "Believe me, I want to help my patients stop smoking, but we don’t understand e-cigarette emissions yet." What? From a man who has supposedly studied e-cigarettes for ten years? What has he been doing with his time - twiddling his thumbs as he accumulates more grant money?'
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, though, reported yesterday that the county’s Health and Human Services Committee voted 6-2 to send the proposal to full council with their "neutral recommendation."
The report in the Post-Gazette goes on to say:
'The measure, which is supported by the Allegheny County Board of Health and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, would relegate e-cigarettes and hand-held vaporizers to the same status of tobacco products, which are banned in locations such as schools, government buildings, sports stadiums and public indoor spaces.'
'Six council members said they will vote in favor of the ban, five said they will vote against it, and one will recuse himself, they told the Tribune-Review on Wednesday. That leaves three members who have not said how they will vote.'
I hope vapers in Pittsburgh are good at lobbying. They are going to need all the help they can get.