Last night, the Beverly Hills City Council failed to adopt a proposed emergency ordinance to place a moratorium on the sale of electronic cigarettes at retail stores in the city. The measure would have required 4 of the 5 council members' votes for adoption but garnered only one vote.
Mayor John Mirisch was quoted as describing his reason for voting against the ordinance as follows: “I can’t see banning e-cigarettes and not cigarettes.” This was precisely the argument I advanced in my blog post yesterday, which I emailed to all five council members.
The Rest of the Story
I applaud the Beverly Hills City Council for making the sensible decision not to remove electronic cigarettes from the market while allowing cigarette sales to continue unchecked. As I argued yesterday, this would have made no public health sense.
One apparent reason for the defeat of the ordinance was the huge turnout of ex-smokers who had quit smoking successfully using electronic cigarettes and spoke passionately about the need to keep this option available for the many smokers who try and fail to quit using "approved" methods (i.e., drugs).
According to Stan Glantz, these people do not exist, as he consistently argues that there are very few people who have quit smoking using electronic cigarettes. But the truth is that not only do these people exist but they are passionate about the product because they have seen firsthand how it can save lives. This is why they turn out in droves when policy makers threaten to ban the product.
While Dr. Glantz might not think these ex-smokers exist, that is not the case for policy makers throughout the country who have considered banning these products.
I applaud the ex-smokers who have quit using electronic cigarettes for having such a presence at hearings such as the one in Beverly Hills last night. Stan might not think they exist, but the policy makers see that they exist.
If this is what ex-smokers who now vape can accomplish without existing, imagine what they can do when they actually are credited with existing.