Wisconsin Senator Introduces New Bill to Protect E-Cigs From Bans
Most of the recent headlines center on politicians fighting against electronic cigarettes, but one courageous Wisconsin senator is taking a stand in favor of vaping. Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) has written a new bill that would insure e-cigarettes are excluded from indoor smoking bans and provide vapers with the right to use their e-cigs freely wherever they want.
Wisconsin law currents bans smoking from most indoor places across the state. Smokers are basically confined to smoking inside private residences if they want to light up indoors. However, electronic cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular across the state and there is growing concern that vaping could also be banned indoors. While the current law doesn’t expressly prohibit vaping, Senator Grothman wants to insure that there is no misunderstanding.
The current smoking ban defines the act of smoking as “burning or holding, or inhaling or exhaling smoke from any lighted smoking equipment containing tobacco.” Senator Grothman introduced Bill SB440 to clarify the terminology. In the new bill, it specifically states that “smoking” does not include electronic cigarettes or vapor-producing products. It would exempt all tobacco-free devices from indoor smoking bans and make it 100 percent legal to puff on an e-cigarette in bars, restaurants, movie theaters, or anywhere else a person desired.
Senator Grothman advocated for the vaper in the new bill and he recently told the press, “From a freedom perspective, we don’t want to have an e-cigarette person standing outside in the cold. We want to clarify that they can smoke in the bar.” He intends to work hard to “shut down the ambiguity” surrounding e-cigarettes so vapers can use e-cigs without fear.
The new bill is likely to face some opposition from other senators, with organizations like the American Cancer Society Action Network and the American Heart Association and Health First Wisconsin already officially standing against it. Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) as the original sponsor of the statewide smoking ban and he is already dismissing the new bill. “I don’t think we need an exemption to the bill we passed, “ he commented.
Despite all local politicians and health organizations claiming to oppose tobacco use, many seem to be willing to outlaw the very thing that is helping thousands of smokers forsake tobacco. After watching smokers struggle for years to quit, many are finally finding freedom from tobacco with the help of e-cigarettes. Unfortunately, the red tape of politicians might undo all the progress that has been made in recent months.
You can take a public stand in support of Bill SB400 by contacting the legislative hotline at (609) 266-9960 or 1-800-362-9472. You can also show your support for the new bill by visiting http://legis.wisconsin.gov and clicking on “Assembly”. Select “Email Directory” and then select your senator to send an email with your thoughts on the new bill.