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Banning Blu

by Jaimie Shaughnessy on April 30, 2014

“No Smoking” signs are found in almost every public building in the United States but a relatively new device that allows smokers to receive their nicotine fix in these places are now undergoing much controversy.  Electronic cigarettes or E-cigarettes are personal, battery operated vaporizers that allow users to inhale a vaporized, liquid form of nicotine.  They eliminate first and secondhand inhalation of tar, carbon monoxide, and other added chemicals that a traditional cigarette may contain.  They can be used as a means to ween a tobacco cigarette smoke off their addiction.  Furthermore, the lack of harmful and lingering smoke has many benefits for E-cigarette users and the environment but there are many potential unknown side affects that may result from ingesting nicotine alone.  

Dr. Norman Edelman, chief medical officer at the American Lung Association asserts, “They are nicotine delivery devices intended to be used like a cigarette. What happens to someone who stops inhaling the tars of cigarettes and inhales only nicotine? We don’t know. There is at least the potential for harm” (Web MD). Nicotine is a powerful neurotoxin that can lead to vomiting, seizures, and even death (Ritchel 2014).  A more well-known adverse health affect regarding nicotine would be its violent withdrawal symptoms, making the case for the dangers of addiction to E-cigarettes.  Since the FDA has not discovered exactly how much nicotine or other harmful chemicals are being inhaled during use, it is impossible to predict exactly how dangerous these devises are (FDA 2014).

Because of the remaining underlying questions about the affects of E-cigarettes, some states have taken it upon themselves to ban their use in indoor public settings.  So far, the FDA has only applied some restrictions on their use.  For instance, those under the age of 18 may not smoke E-cigarettes and manufacturers must register with the FDA and provide ingredients before distribution (Capital New York 2014).  The FDA has yet to place any restrictions regarding where their use is safe or unsafe.  Chicago and New York state officials have decided not to wait for the FDA to make the call on their indoor use.  As of this week, fines up to $400 can be distributed to violators to the new law in these states (Capital New York).

The argument regarding the ban is that E-cigarettes, like Blu, are very available to minors.  Not only that but they come in sweet, candy flavors that are even attractive to children which advocates for a continuation of nicotine addiction in future generations (Capital New York).  They are advertised as a safe alternative to traditional tobacco products while they may actually act as a gateway to those very products.  Much of the argument also stems from the lack of knowledge about the long term affects of E-cigarette use.  Ultimately, we are unable to weigh the benefits and costs to using E-cigarettes because we simply do not know enough about them.


Byrne, John. “Chicago indoor e-cigarette smoking ban takes effect today.” Chicago Tribune News. N.p., Apr. 2014. Web.



DeNoon, Daniel. “E-Cigarettes Under Fire.” Web MD. N.p., 2014. Web.


Golberg, Dan. “Ban on E-cigarettes takes effect today.” Capital New York. N.p., Apr. 2014. Web.. <>.

Ritchell, Matt. “Selling a Poison by the Barrel: Liquid Nicotine for E-Cigarettes.” The New York Times. N.p., 23 Mar. 2014. Web.



Norman Edelman, MD, chief medical officer, American Lung Association

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