Battle Lines Drawn in Debate of E-Cig Use in Indoor Public Place - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Battle Lines Drawn in Debate of E-Cig Use in Indoor Public Places in Del.

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - The battle lines are drawn in the debate over using e-cigs in indoor public places in Delaware - health advocates versus vapor store owners and employees.

A bill to add e-cigarettes to Delaware's Clean Indoor Air Act was heard by a House committee in Dover Wednesday afternoon. But there was no vote. There weren't enough representatives to hold that vote. The hearing will pick back up Thursday at 1:30 pm.

While there wasn't a vote, there was lots of public comment both for and against the proposed ban.

Vapor Dome in Dover opened up in late December. Phillip Gruver works there and is a vaper himself. He's not a fan of the proposed ban.

"If they do ban it indoors, it's only going to hurt certain places," he said. "I feel like most importantly businesses need to have their own discretion."

Gruver's opposition was echoed at the hearing by many owners and employees of Delaware vaping stores. It's an industry that has boomed in the First State in the past year. On the other side, many public health officials and advocates spoke out at the hearing in favor of the prohibition.

The biggest thing they disagreed on was on the health effects of secondhand vapor.

"There is no evidence the aerosol produced by vapor products, in contrast to cigarette smoke, actually poses threats to bystanders exposed to that aerosol," Gregory Conley, with the American Vaping Association, said.

"The opponents say there is a lack of studies regarding the safety of e-cigarettes, and as a result, we should wait on these bills," said Bill Bowser, head of the Delaware Cancer Consortium. "I disagree. Credible and authoritative studies raise real concerns about e-cigarettes and the vapors emitted by the users."

"Our gravest concerns are not knowing what we are breathing in when we are near someone using these devices," Sarah Black, a freshman at Polytech High School and a member of Delaware Kick Butts Generation, said. "The FDA has found toxic, cancer-causing chemicals are emitted from these devices."

"Even if you only take the environment into account when deciding to limit the use of electronic cigarettes, there is so much less of an environmental impact with electronic cigarettes than there is with regular, tobacco cigarettes," said Matt Smith, with E-Factor Vapes.

Some vaping store owners and employees said that if the bill became law they hoped it would include one big change.

"I come before you today asking that you vote no on HB5 and at a bare minimum that you pass an amendment that permanently exempts vaporizer stores," said David Eisenhour, owner of Delmar Vapor Lounge.

Supporters of the ban do not believe there should be an exemption.

Gruver says even if there is no ban, vapers need to remember to be polite in public indoor places.

"The biggest thing for vapers to do is be respectful," he said. "If you're going to go to a bar that allows vaping, don't bring a device that blows the biggest clouds."

This bill got through the House last year. But it didn't go anywhere in the Senate.

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