A bill that aims to ban e-cigarettes in public indoor places is facing opposition from the Smoke Free Alternatives Coalition of Illinois.
Victoria Vasconcellos, president of the Smoke Free Alternatives Coalition of Illinois, said the primary goal of Senate Bill 1864 is to discourage school-age children from using e-cigarettes.
However, Vasconcellos said the bill is not an effective method to stopping children.
“It has been illegal in Illinois for those children under 18 since 2014 and in July it becomes illegal for anyone under 21, so if there is an issue, these children that are doing it are ignoring age restriction laws,” Vasconcellos said. “I do not think that an indoor vaping law is going to be the magic bullet.”
Vasconcellos said one of the issues in the bill is whether vaping should be allowed inside an indoor public place such as a vape shop.
“If you're in a vape shop, that's all you sell and customers come in and they should have the ability to try what they are about to buy, so that was a big issue for us,” Vasconcellos said.
Vasconcellos adds that the bill doesn’t clarify the difference between smoking and vaping.
“Vaping isn't smoking. There's no combustion,” Vasconcellos said. “To tell people vaping is smoking, that just changes the definition of word. It's inaccurate. The general public needs to have accurate information. Having accurate information can help people make choices in their lifestyle.”
Vasconcellos said vaping also shouldn’t be confused with tobacco.
Citing the Smoke-free Act in Illinois, Vasconcellos said tobacco causes at least 65,000 deaths per year with heart disease, stroke, cancer and sudden infant death.
Vasconcellos adds that second-hand tobacco smoke is the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S., but vaping hasn’t been known to do that kind of harm.
“We simply wanted findings that had to do with vapor,” Vasconcellos said. “Because if you’re gonna put vaping in the smoking act, at least say why.”
Vasconcellos said the Smoke Free Alternatives Coalition expressed their concerns about the language in the bill, but lawmakers didn’t compromise.
“From our perspective, there absolutely could be a middle ground,” Vasconcellos said. “We just want people to know the truth.”